Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ponnani seat issue aggravates rift in LDF

March 04, 2009

Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala appears to be a divided house this week, following the seat-sharing talks within the front that has left some of the smaller coalition members grumbling.

The LDF has officially decided the seats for different parties for 18 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, but that has not left everyone equally pleased.

The break-up is hugely in favour of the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM), which will contest 13 of the 18 seats decided. The Communist Party of India (CPI) has been allotted only three seats, while the Kerala Congress Joseph will get one seat, leaving the Ponnai seat for a mutually agreed candidate. The Kozhikode and Wayanad seats are to be decided later this week.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), which had been threatening that it would pull its minister from the Kerala cabinet if it was denied a seat, has been left without a seat and the party's next step is keenly awaited.

However, it is the Ponnani seat that has been causing a furore within the LDF. While the official explanation by LDF convenor Vaikom Viswam is that a Left-supported independent would be fielded in Ponnai, not all are in agreement about that.

CPI state secretary Veliyam Bhargavan has asserted that it would not be a Left-supported independent, but a CPI-chosen independent candidate in Ponnani. When asked about Bhargavan's statement, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media yesterday: "You are trying to drive a wedge within our front. We will not fall into that trap".

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