Kerala

Hectic parleys on in LDF, UDF to finalise seats

The wait for a name: The poll symbol of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) painted on a wall at Parakkandy in Kannur for the upcoming election. S.K. MOHAN  

Seat-sharing talks gathered momentum both in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Sunday.

By one account, Congress leaders were engaged in marathon talks with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The IUML has reportedly demanded more seats. Sources put the number at seven. The Congress is likely to cede to the IUML three more seats.

The IUML had contested in 24 seats in 2016. A UDF insider said the IUML leadership was keen to avoid the optics of dictating terms to the Congress. The LDF had portrayed IUML as an Islamist party and said that it would eclipse a ‘weakened’ Congress in the UDF soon. Apparently, the IUML does not want to provide more sensational grist to its opponents.

Kerala Congress (M)’s [KC(M)] P.J. Joseph faction reportedly remained a stumbling block to an early seat-sharing settlement. Mr. Joseph had demanded 15 seats contested by the KC(M) when Jose K. Mani was in the UDF. The Mani faction is now in the LDF.

However, the Congress was reportedly loath to yield to the demand. The party is eyeing at least three seats contested by the KC(M). Mr. Joseph is under treatment for COVID-19. He will take a final call on the issue. The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) has sought four seats.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that the UDF would finalise seat-sharing on Monday. The front would make a public announcement on March 3.

He is also likely to unveil the UDF’s election manifesto. Congress leaders led by Shashi Tharoor, MP, had prepared a charter of demands put forward by the public after interacting with people from different walks of life, gender, and age group.

District panels’ list

The LDF is also expected finalise seat-sharing soon.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Communist Party of India (CPI), the two major constituents of the front, have reportedly stated that they are not opposed to giving up a few seats to accommodate the KC(M) and Loktantrik Janata Dal. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has reportedly demanded four seats. But, it is unlikely to stake a claim for Pala over which Mani C. Kappan, MLA, had quit the party and joined the UDF.

The CPI(M) has also asked its district committees to submit a panel of candidates with a high chance of success. The CPI has also initiated a similar exercise.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:04:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hectic-parleys-on-in-ldf-udf-to-finalise-seats/article33956854.ece

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