Thiruvananthapuram: The demands raised by Kerala Congress led by P J Joseph and Jose K Mani for more seats have created a stalemate in seat sharing talks in the LDF and UDF camps.
The shadow fight of the two parties was evident during the talks held in LDF and UDF camps on Wednesday. The Kerala Congress (Joseph), which is part of the United Democratic Front (UDF), is reportedly adamant that it should get the same number of seats that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) would allot to the Jose K Mani faction of KC(M). Jose K Mani's party is also adopting a similar stand. Both the parties are keeping a close watch on the seat-sharing talks being held in the rival fronts.
The Kerala Congress (Joseph) group has demanded 12 seats and it is not ready to compromise for any number less than 11. The Congress, the major constituent of the UDF, expressed willingness to allot 9 seats for the party. There is not much dispute over Idukki ,Thodupuzha, Kothamangalam, Irinjalakuda, Thiruvalla and Kuttanad seats. However, the alliance parties are yet to reach a consensus over the assembly constituencies in the Kottayam district.
Senior politicians Joy Abraham, Mons Joseph and Francis George took part in seat-sharing talks with UDF leaders on behalf of Joseph faction.
Jose K Mani led KC(M), which entered the Left front last year, is expecting 13 seats from the CPM, the leading party of the alliance. Meanwhile, the CPI, the second major constituent of the front, has reportedly expressed their disapproval towards allotting more than 10 seats to KC(M). However, the KC(M) is showing no signs of yielding to the pressure. Jose's party had their eyes set on Peravoor, which was supposed to be a CPM seat, despite being offered the Irikkur seat in Kannur district .
KC(M) leaders Jose K Mani, Stephen George and Pramod Narayanan took part in LDF's the seat-sharing discussions.
UDF talks hit roadblock over Ettumanoor
The failure to find an accord with Joseph has inevitably delayed the preparation of the UDF candidates' list. The disparity over seats in Kottayam persists within the front despite holding two rounds of discussions. Joseph group has taken a position that barring Mani C Kappan's Pala, the eight seats in Kottayam district should be shared equally between Congress and Kerala Congress (Joseph).
They are demanding Kaduthuruthy, Changanassery, Ettumanoor along with either Kanjirappally or Poonjar. The Congress is reportedly willing to allot Kaduthuruthy and Changanassery besides considering the demand for Poonjar. But with Joseph group insisting on getting Ettumanoor, the talks in UDF have hit a roadblock.
An understanding has almost reached on seat-sharing with other allies in the UDF. Muslim League will get three additional seats; Beypur, Pattambi and Koothuparamba. With this, the number of seats to be contested by League will go up to 27.
Congress will take over Balusserry from the Muslim League and instead, will allot Kunnamangalam to them.
Congress will contest from Punalur and handover Chadayamangalam instead to IUML. Mani C Kappan's Nationalist Congress Kerala (NCK) will be allotted Elathur besides Pala. If this happens, incumbent MLA NCP's A K Saseendran will face NCK candidate in Elathur.
Even though the RSP has requested Ambalapuzha in place of Kaipamangalam, the demand is unlikely to be met.
The CMP would be allotted Nenmara. Kerala Congress (Jacob) from Piravom.
The All India Forward Bloc and the Bharatiya National Janata Dal are likely to be given a seat each. The Forward Bloc is sticking to its demand for Chathanoor. The Malampuzha seat is likely to be allotted to Dal.
LDF faces Changanassery hurdle
Dispute continues within the LDF over Changanassery seat as both the CPI and the Kerala Congress (M) staking claim over the constituency.
Meanwhile, the CPM has received the list of probable candidates from all district secretariats. The state secretariat and state committee will meet on Thursday or Friday to finalise the candidates.
The respective district secretariats have recommended that ministers Kadakampally Surendran, A C Moideen and T P Ramakrishnan should contest again. Minister C Raveendranath has been dropped. There were reports that filmmaker Ranjith would contest from Kozhikode North. However, the Kozhikode district secretariat has recommended that sitting MLA A Pradeep Kumar, who won from this constituency thrice, should be fielded again.
Though the CPI had agreed to give Kanjirappally seat to Kerala Congress (M), who won it last time from the UDF camp, it has demanded Changanassery seat which led to a discord within the front.
While they were with UDF before splitting into two factions, the Kerala Congress (M) had won the Changanassery seat. Jose K Mani demanded the seat during the bilateral talks with CPM. The CPM told Jose K Mani that since CPI had already staked its claim on Changanasserry, they will get back to the former after discussing with the latter.
Arguing against the move, the CPI is pointing out that C F Thomas, who won from Changansserry last time, had joined Kerala Congress (Joseph ).