Parties scramble to finish seat-sharing talks as polls approach in Kerala
- The only state where the party is in power the CPI(M) is playing all its cards to rewrite the poll history of the state-- in the last three decades the state has never given a second chance to the incumbent.
With assembly elections just one-month away (April 6) in Kerala, coalition partners are in a hurry to complete the contentious seat-sharing talks to score an early advantage. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) said its talks are in the final stage and a complete picture will emerge in a couple of days.
The CPI(M) has been forced to cut down some of its seats to accommodate two new entrants in the ruling alliance-- Kerala Congress (M) and Loktantric Janata Dal. The Kerala Congress (M) came to the LDF fold last year and the LJD three years ago-- Congress (M) sought ten seats and LJD five.
The only state where the party is in power the CPI(M) is playing all its cards to rewrite the poll history of the state-- in the last three decades the state has never given a second chance to the incumbent. The party is also planning to dump many old war horses and bring in new faces to beat incumbency. There are reports that at least six ministers in Pinarayi Vijayan’s government will be rested this time to make way for youngsters.
Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) said the seat-sharing agreement will be clinched in two days. Talks hit a roadblock in the UDF after the Kerala Congress (Joseph) faction insisted on 13 seats but Congress was ready to part with only 10 seats. “We are on the last lap. Once it is over screening committee members will go to Delhi with the party list and the final announcement will be made in Delhi after getting the high command’s nod,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. The party is likely to contest in 90 seats.
What is really missing in Congress this time is the dirty faction feud_ party leader Rahul Gandhi, also an MP from the state, had made it clear that winnability should be the sole criteria and dividing seats on faction basis will not happen this time. Since Gandhi is keeping a close watch group politics has taken a backseat. Two prominent groups, one led by former CM Oommen Chandy and the other by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, call the shots in the party.
Though the rebel menace reared its head, the party was quick to redress some of their grievances. Senior leader A V Gopinath, former legislator and Palakkad district Congress president, last week announced his decision to contest as a rebel in Palakkad constituency if he was denied a seat this time. Hectic efforts are on to placate him. Similarly senior leader K Sudhakaran was rushed to Wayanad to quell unrest in the district.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance also said it had finalised seat-sharing and details will be announced after the culmination of the BJP state president’s yatra in the state capital on Sunday which will be addressed by Union home minister Amit Shah. Going by initial trends, 140 seats in the state are likely to witness a fierce three-cornered contest this time.