Thiruvananthapuram: The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is set to focus on identifying and earmarking the legislative assembly constituencies where each alliance partner would contest in the upcoming state polls. The coalition partners have urged the LDF leadership to complete the seat-sharing process before the ruling front's election rallies (jathas).
The CPM and CPI leaderships have decided to discuss seat-sharing issues within the ruling LDF from February 4. It was also decided to hold bilateral talks between CPM and CPI at regular intervals in the run-up to the polls.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former CPM party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will take part in the discussions on seat sharing on behalf of the CPM. They will interact with LDF Convenor A Vijayaraghavan who is heading the rally. Vijayaraghavan will take part in the seat-sharing discussions till February 13.
The chief minister and Kodiyeri will speak directly to the leaders of LDF allies.
The CPI will be represented by Kanam Rajendran and Pannyan Raveendran at the bilateral discussions. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran decided not to lead a zonal rally so that he could concentrate fully on seat discussions as the talks in this regard are to be held simultaneously with the rallies.
Talks till Feb 26
With the conclusion of the CPM state committee meeting on February 4, the leaders will get down to discuss the seat-sharing formula. The party leadership also decided to wind up bilateral talks between the constituents by February 26 when the LDF zonal jathas are scheduled to end.
CPM, CPI party meets
Meanwhile, the CPM politburo and central committee meetings are taking place online, while the CPI national executive committee and national council meetings are scheduled to be held in Hyderabad during these days.
The members are going to be physically present at the CPI national leadership meetings for the first time in the past one year.
The state leadership meetings and official-level talks regarding polls will take place after the central leadership meetings.
How CPM settles candidate picking
As is the practice in the CPM the state leadership will take a decision on the candidates based on the recommendations coming from the district level. The state leadership arrives at an understanding and seeks the opinion of the district leadership. However, the final decision is taken either by the state secretariat or the state committee.
Likely seat-sharing pattern in the LDF
* CPM and CPI would reiterate the merger of Janata Dal (Secular) and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD). In case if they do not merge, the two parties are likely to be allotted four seats each.
* The LDF has reached an understanding on giving a fair share of seats to the Kerala Congress (M) led by Jose K Mani. The CPI is not averse to accommodating KC(M). However, the CPI has made it clear that in case if they are asked to give away a seat to KC(M) then the party should allot a replacement seat in the same district. The CPI is insisting on getting 27 seats that it contested last time.
* CPM has asked the LDF constituents to be prepared for making certain compromises. The CPM is likely to set an example by parting with some of its seats.
* Minor parties like Congress (S), Kerala Congress (Scaria Thomas) RSP (Leninist), which were allotted one seat each in the last elections, may not find favour from the LDF leadership this time. In that case the chances of Ramachandran Kadanapally, Scaria Thomas and Koovoor Kunjumon getting a seat to contest is bleak. However, a section in the ruling front wants to allot a seat to Kovoor Kunjumon and K B Ganesh Kumar, considering their winning prospects.
* INL would be allotted three seats as it was given last time. Since INL is a constituent of the LDF now, discussions are likely to be held on allocating more seats.
* Janadhipathya Kerala Congress, which was allotted four seats in the previous elections, may not get that many constituencies this time.
* CPI has called for avoiding a split in the NCP. The CPM, however, has not ruled out the possibility of one of the faction’s breaking away from the parent party. Both the CPM and CPI hope that the issue might get resolved following the intervention of NCP national president Sharad Pawar.