Kottayam: Kerala Congress (Joseph) has reiterated demand for the allotment of 12 seats for the forthcoming assembly election in the state while the Congress is willing to give only eight seats across the state.
Of the 15 seats contested jointly by the Kerala Congress (M) and Joseph faction in the last state elections, the latter offered to give up Alathur and Thaliparamba. Pala has been already set aside for Mani C Kappen, the NCP legislator expelled by the party after he recently joined the United Democratic Front (UDF).
However, the Joseph faction insisted on getting all the remaining 12 seats. Besides, the party has also demanded Muvattupuzha and Thiruvambady from where Congress and Muslim League contests respectively. The Joseph group agreed to give up some seats in Kottayam in return for these two seats.
But the Congress has informed the Joseph faction that it would not be able to allot more than nine seats. So far, the Kerala Congress used to contest on 6 seats and Congress on three seats. Following Jose K Mani's exit from the UDF, the Congress leaders had put forward a formula; five seats for their party and 3 seats for Joseph faction.
The Congress has expressed interest in taking over Changanassery and Ettumanoor seats. However, the Joseph faction said that the party had emotional connection with C F Thomas's Changanaserry hence it cannot give up that seat.
The further discussions on seat sharing will continue in Thiruvananthapuram.
The latest round of meeting by Kerala Congress (Joseph) and the Congress leaders concluded without reaching any agreement. The seat sharing in Kottayam district continues to be a headache for the leadership of the UDF. After the first day of the UDF rally in Kottayam district last weekend, former chief minister Oommen Chandy, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, M M Hassan, P J Joseph, Mons Joseph and Joy Abraham held a meeting at the guest house at Nattakom.
Decision on Poonjar
The current UDF seat-sharing plan could change if P C George, the Poonjar MLA, joins the front. The opposition of local Congress and Muslim League leaders in Erattupetta is hindering George's induction into the UDF. Under these circumstances the Congress is considering fielding George as an independent candidate or as part of the Kerala Congress if he finally makes it into the UDF fold.
As of now Congress and Joseph group have decided on 5 of the 9 seats in Kottayam district. The five are: Pala (Mani C Kapan), Kaduthuruthy (Kerala Congress - Joseph), Vaikom (Congress), Kottayam (Congress) and Puthuppally (Congress).
The four constituencies in the district where the decision is pending are: Poonjar, Ettumanoor Changanassery, and Kanjirappally.