Kerala

Kerala CM holds discussions with KC (M) on power-sharing

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and family lighting candles to celebrate the Left Democratic Front’s victory in the Assembly elections, at Cliff House in Thiruvananthapuram. File photo  

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, May 10, 2021 opened discussions with the Kerala Congress (M) about government formation. The party had won five out of the 12 seats it had contested in the 2021 Assembly elections.

KC(M) chairperson Jose. K. Mani arrived at the AKG centre here with few legislators in tow.

Since, Mr. Mani lost the Pala seat to Mani. C. Kappan of the Nationalist Congress Kerala by a margin of 15,000 votes, sources said the party veteran and five-time legislator from Idukki constituency, Roshy Augustine, stood a good chance of gaining a cabinet berth.

Nevertheless, Mr. Augustine's prospects would hinge on whether the KC (M) would name him as the head of the legislative party. Mr. Mani would have a significant say in the nomination.

However, there were reports that Mr. Mani's defeat had diminished his standing in the party, and Mr. Augustine had emerged stronger in the scheme of things.

The other KC(M) legislators are Sebastian Kulathingal (Poonjar), Pramod Narayan (Ranni), N. Jayaraj (Kanjirapally) and Job Michael (Changanassery). Mr. Jayaraj is a four-time legislator and robust contender for a cabinet post.

By some accounts, Mr. Mani had staked a claim for two cabinet posts. Ideally, it also wanted the office of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) chief whip. However, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has reportedly made no commitments.

Mr. Mani told reporters later that the KC(M) had communicated its requirement to the LDF leadership. Negotiations were at a nascent stage. The discussions were positive, he said. According to LDF sources, CPI( M) and the CPI might be constrained to shed some cabinet seats to accommodate the KC(M) and Lok Tantrik Janata Dal (LJD), both new alliance partners.

Mr. Vijayan was also reportedly in close consultation with the CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran on government formation. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan were on board.

The CPI(M) has also opened negotiations with the Janata Dal (Secular) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Mr. Vijayaraghavan had said last week that the LDF would convene on May 17 to formulate the makeup of the next Pinarayi Vijayan government. Before the crucial LDF meeting, LDF partners would reach a broad consensus on power-sharing. The coalition would decide the allocation of cabinet seats and other posts to each partner. Once the LDF reached a decision, the CPI(M) would know its share of seats. Subsequently, the State secretariat and later the state committee would assign select legislators for public office.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan had said that a mix of new faces and experienced hands would set apart the next LDF cabinet.Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet. He had hinted that not all CPI(M) members in the previous cabinet would return to the Council of Ministers. The emphasis was on creating a secondary line of leadership with sufficient governance experience.

The LDF has tentatively fixed May 20 as the swearing-in date for the new government. Given the pandemic, the ceremony was likely to be a relatively low key affair. The venue was likely to be a stadium in the capital.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 1:48:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-cm-holds-discussions-with-kc-m-on-power-sharing/article34525418.ece

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