Kottayam: It seems the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has almost managed to resolve the differences within it regarding seat-sharing between its various constituents ahead of the local body polls for the Kottayam District Panchayat.
As per a tentative settlement reached on Sunday, the CPM and the Kerala Congress (M) faction led by Jose K Mani may contest in nine divisions each, while the remaining four divisions will go to the CPI. The NCP and Janata Dal, the other two constituents of the Front, will not contest this time.
Announcing the decision, CPM district secretary VN Vasavan said the constituent parties will decide on the divisions by Monday.
Seat-sharing talks here had hit a roadblock when Jose K Mani's faction, which had recently left the UDF camp to side with the Left, demanded that it contest in 11 district panchayat seats or divsions citing their dominance in the region. However, only nine have been reportedly offered. The CPM had to concede three seats of their own while taking back two of the CPI and the lone seats held by the NCP and Janata Dal. CPI too were reportedly unhappy with the agreements and insisted on giving up not more than one seat.
NCP district president Saju Philip demanded a least one seat, while other LDF constituents did not raise any demand. NCP will be allotted more seats in grama panchayats and block panchayats.
LDF leaders Vasavan, C K Sasidharan, Sunny Thekottam and Saju Philip said the decision on seat sharing was taken unanimously keeping in view the possibilities of victory and the organisational strength of the parties.
Earlier CPI decided to spare the Vakathanam seat though Jose faction had demanded either Kangazha or Kidangoor seats. The two divisions are with the CPI. Jose's faction had won the two divisions in 2015.
Ajith Mutharamala who had crossed over to Joseph faction had secured victory from this seat. Kidangoor is the birth place of former chief minister P K Vasudevan Nair hence CPI is not keen to part with it.
CPI has a chance of winning in Kangazha. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran's house is also located in Kangazha division.
The CPI and Jose faction had bilateral talks to resolve the issues related to these seats.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran's presence in Kottayam gave the required backing to the district unit to take a strident position in seat sharing talks. The CPI state secretary was in Kottayam to take part in an LDF agitation.
While taking part in the district executive meeting of the party, Kanam had directed the leadership not to forfeit its honor by giving away many seats. Another reason for CPI’s stern position was the ratio of seats.
At present CPI is contesting almost half the seats that the CPM is fighting. If they had agreed to three, the party’s ratio had come down to one third seats.
On the other side, it is reported that Congress, UDF's lead constituent, will contest from 13 seats while Joseph faction gets the remaining nine in the Kottayam District Panchayat.