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Coalition parties stake claim for Congress seats

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Story Dated: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 11:16 hrs UTC

As the Congress high command instructed that its candidates should be announced as early as possible, pressure has begun to rise in the UDF for Lok Sabha seats. Both the Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress(M) are demanding one more seat each. Socialist Janata’s stand is that it needs a seat. Congress has not made its position clear on these demands. The main headache is that these parties are seeking the sitting seats of Congress.

At the same time, discussions or moves on seat sharing have not started. It is at a time when there is an understanding that the time for such moves has not come that the high command has perplexed the state leadership by asking for the list of candidates. This move came at a discussion between the AICC leadership and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala after elections to legislative Assemblies in north India.

Chennithala has explained that the situation in the state is different and more time is needed. The KPCC’s stand is that if the candidate is announced early that could have a negative impact. He has made it clear also that no understanding has been reached in the UDF on seat sharing. But the high command’s opinion is that there should be a change from the usual practice of prolonging the process.

Chennithala and Chandy have reached Delhi on Tuesday and will hold discussions with the High Command. However, both leaders plan to seek more time.

Considering the increased strength in membership in the legislative Assembly and the prominence it has in the UDF, the Muslim League’s stand is that it deserves a third Lok Sabha seat. It is eying  Wayanad, but it is the sitting seat of Congress and a safe constituency. There is a propaganda that League’s efforts are to tighten the grip for Wayanad and then settle for Kasaragod.

Though it has been a long time since Congress has won from Kasaragod, if one more seat is given away to League, Kerala Congress, which is raising the same demand, will not sit idle. After the merger of the Joseph group, K.M. Mani’s demand is that they deserve the Idukki seat, which the group had been contesting when it was part of the Left Front. However, expecting this demand to arise after the merger of Joseph group, Congress had made it clear that pros and cons of the merger would only be for Mani’s party.

At that time, Congress had said that it was a political move taken without consulting it as the main party, and hence it would not be a party to it later. At the same time, Mani’s counter question was that whether it was a gain for the Front that a group from LDF was added to the UDF. As difference of opinion has reared its head in the party, to nip it in the bud, Mani would have to argue strongly for a second Lok Sabha seat.

The Left Front, which is trying to draw Mani towards it, is also looking forward to the outcome of this discussion on seats. However, Idukki is also the sitting seat of Congress.

Socialist Janata, which moved to the UDF from the LDF just before the previous Lok Sabha election, is demanding either Wayanad or Vadakara constituencies. These are also the sitting seats of Congress. However, Socialist Janata is insisting that it should be given a seat through some kind of give and take policy.

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