LDF seat-sharing: Kerala Congress (M) demands 15 seats, CPM offer later

LDF seat-sharing: Kerala Congress (M) demands 15 seats, CPM offer later

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Congress (M), which recently joined the Left Democratic Front (LDF), has demanded 15 constituency seats to contest in the upcoming assembly election. The demand was placed before the CPM, the leading partner of the front, during a discussion held at party state headquarters, AKG Centre, in the capital.

The Kerala Congress (M) had fielded its candidates in these 15 seats during the previous assembly election in 2016, when the party had been a constituent of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

However, the CPM has not agreed to the demand of the Kerala Congress (M). Still, the latter is firm on getting at least 13 seats, which too the CPM is yet to approve.

The CPM told the Kerala Congress (M) leaders who attended the meeting that it would discuss the matter with CPI, another major front partner.

Those who attended the meeting included Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and senior CPM leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani, its high-power committee member Roshy Augustine, MLA, and general secretaries Stephen George and Pramod Narayanan.

The Kerala Congress (M) leaders named constituencies such as Pala, Kaduthuruthy, Kanjirappally and Changanassery where the party has a sound base.

The party could be allotted Kanjirappally, where the CPI used to field its candidates, and Irikkur.

Demands of other parties

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has repeated it demand for four seats, including Pala, even though its legislator Mani C Kappen has left the LDF.

At the same time, the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), which switched sides to the LDF from UDF, has asked for the same seven seats from where it had fought under the UDF banner last time.

Similarly, the Democratic Kerala Congress demanded the same four constituencies as in 2016.

CPM to concede seats

During the first round of seat-sharing talks, the CPM asked all constituents of the LDF to concede some seats in order to accommodate the new parties which joined the front. The CPM made it clear that it would not hesitate to hand over some of its seats to the new partners.

In the coming days, the CPM will hold discussions with Janata Dal (S) and engage in a second round of talks with the CPI.

Other leaders who took part in the meetings included M V Shreyams Kumar (LJD), T P Peethambaran (NCP), Kasim Irikkur (INL), Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran (Congress S), K B Ganesh Kumar (Kerala Congress B) and Dr K C Joseph and Antony Raju (Democratic Kerala Congress).

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