THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Congress, which had been raising a hue and cry for the past several days for one more seat from the UDF in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, will ultimately settle for the one seat the party has at present, highly placed sources in the party have said.
While the Kerala Congress (Joseph) fraction merged with the Kerala Congress (Mani) and joined the UDF, there is bickering within the party as the middle and lower level leaders and cadre have still not gelled together. With Jose K Mani MP firmly saddled in New Delhi as the Rajya Sabha MP, K M Mani is more or less satisfied with the present position and is not much keen on fighting the Congress for an extra seat.
Joseph, said a senior leader of KC(M), was also raising the bogey of a second seat for a comfortable launchpad for his son Appu John Joseph to the LS. Joseph, it is learnt, did not object to Jose K Mani getting the Rajya Sabha seat despite being a sitting Lok Sabha MP keeping in mind Appu’s future prospects.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders have decided not to bow to the pressure put by Mani and Joseph for an extra seat even though the LS elections are around the corner. “We will amicably settle all the pending issues by February 10, when the UDF will meet to decide on seat sharing. KC (M) and Congress have been sharing a well-knit bonhomie for the past several decades and I don’t find any reason for any differences of opinion now,” KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran told ‘Express’. Discussions are ripe within Congress and KC (M) circles, for a swapping of seat between Idukki and Kottayam. With pressure mounting on Oommen Chandy to contest from Kottayam, KC(M) will have to settle for Idukki which is exactly what PJ Joseph is in for.
There are also pressure on Joseph to contest the LS seat from Idukki and pave way for his son Appu John Joseph to contest from Thodupuzha Assembly seat in the byelection if Joseph gets elected from Idukki. With the differences of opinion between the UDF and the Church almost ironed out, UDF leaders are of the opinion Idukki may not be a tough seat to wrest from the Left Front.