CPM’s Rajeeve justifies IUML’s claim for third seat

Minister P Rajeeve. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The ruling CPM’s desperation to cash in on the perceived confusion within the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) was evident in a quick pre-poll analysis made by Industries Minister P Rajeeve here on Friday.

Rajeeve said Congress as a party and UDF as an alliance have found themselves in a crisis ahead of the elections. He hinted that the Congress was not giving due consideration to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest ally in the opposition front.

“We should understand that the League is asking only three Lok Sabha seats to contest despite having one-third of the seats in the opposition benches in the assembly,” Rajeeve told reporters on the sidelines of a press meet he convened to announce the winners of the awards instituted to promote MSMEs in the state.

The IUML which usually contests from two of the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies has sternly staked a claim for a third seat this time and the Congress is yet to take a call on it. In the 140-member Kerala assembly, Congress has only 22 seats while IUML has 15. The UDF, altogether has 41 seats against CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s 99.

“It is the League that actually sustains UDF as a front. However, that party is often unable to respond to stances taken by Congress on several issues. The UDF is in a crisis,” Rajeeve said.

Exuding confidence about improving the Left front’s performance in the general elections, Rajeeve claimed that LDF’s win is imperative for the survival of the secular democratic fabric of the country as well as for the survival of Kerala. He repeated the LDF’s criticism that the UDF MPs have not raised their voice against the alleged financial strangulation of Kerala by the BJP government at the Centre.

He said people know that even if a Congress-led government comes at the Centre, the Left MPs would support its fight against the BJP better than the Congress MPs would do. 

The CPM is likely to field experienced leaders like K K Shailaja, Thomas Isaac and K Radhakrishnan in a bid to cover the embarrassment it suffered in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the Left front lost 19 of the 20 seats to UDF in Kerala. The LDF tally rose to two later as Kerala Congress (M) switched sides and joined it in 2021. Kerala Congress (M)’s Thomas Chazhikadan who won on UDF ticket from Kottayam is seeking re-election this time as LDF candidate. 

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