CPI(M) strives to find solution as CPI, KC(M) insist on Rajya Sabha seat

CPI(M) holds close-door discussions with both allies; an LDF meeting on Monday may take the final decision on the issue

Published - June 08, 2024 08:07 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

On Saturday, the CPI(M) hastened to save two key Left Democratic Front allies from going off the rails in a fit of pique over Rajya Sabha seat allocation.

Given the current composition of the body of electors, the Kerala Assembly, the ruling LDF stands a solid chance of winning two of the three vacant Rajya Sabha and the Opposition United Democratic Front one. So far, the calculus that the CPI(M) would claim one of the seats seems unchanged.

The remaining seat has arguably become the proverbial golden apple of discord between the Communist Party of India (CPI), a legacy partner in the LDF, and the relatively new entrant to the alliance, the Kerala Congress (M). 

Non-negotiable, says CPI

With a crucial LDF leadership meeting scheduled on Monday, the CPI(M) engaged in high-stakes, closed-door negotiations with CPI State secretary Binoy Viswam and Kerala Congress (M) chairperson Jose K. Mani to achieve a detente with its two allies.

At least outwardly, an unusual degree of dissonance appeared to mark the talks. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Viswam said the Rajya Sabha seat was the CPI’s inalienable and non-negotiable right. 

Mr. Mani also struck a seemingly intractable position. He said the party had its pressing reasons for demanding the accommodation. “I hope the CPI(M) will make the right choice on Monday.” 

The CPI(M) was arguably in a weak position to bargain from a point of strength with its allies. However, by some accounts, the party could barter a top constitutional post, possibly that of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission chairperson, for an amicable settlement with either of the allies.

UDF’s bid to woo Mani

Meanwhile, the Congress, empowered by its decisive showing in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, has moved to exploit the perceived fissures in the LDF over seat sharing. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K. Sudhakaran has offered Mr. Mani an olive branch by requesting his return to the UDF. 

The BJP also covets an alliance with the KC(M), a significant force among Christians in central Kerala. It could secretly hold out the prospect of a Rajya Sabha seat from any State it controls as a carrot for the KC(M).

Notably, Mr. Mani has reiterated his allegiance to the LDF and dismissed BJP’s alleged outreach to the KC(M) as “gossip”.

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