THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following P J Joseph’s claim of contesting in the 15 Assembly seats, the UDF leadership feels that it is too early to discuss the seat-sharing mechanism for the Assembly elections. But when it comes to local body polls, already the local UDF leadership has been given a word to maintain status quo towards the demand of the Joseph faction of the KC(M).
During the 2016 Assembly polls, the undivided KC (M) had contested in 15 seats where they won only six. Idukki (Roshy M Augustine), Kanjirapally (N Jayaraj), Changanassery (the late C F Thomas), Thodupuzha (P J Joseph) and Kaduthuruthy (Mons Joseph) are the sitting MLAs of KC (M). Pala seat, held by former KC(M) chairman K M Mani for years, has gone to the LDF after his death, NCP’s Mani C Kappan winning the by-election.
Majority of their leaders feel that the seats they had lost are not winnable seats, namely, Koothuparamba, Alathur and Perambra. Also if KC (M) fields commendable candidates, they still can pull off victory from Irinjalakuda, Kothamangalam, Ettumanoor, Poonjar, Kuttanad and Tiruvalla seats. UDF convener M M Hassan said that Joseph has taken up “pressure tactics” against the UDF by keeping their stakes high when there is much “sound and fury” at their rival camp led by Jose K Mani.
“How is it possible to talk about seat-sharing mechanism now when the Assembly elections are due only by next April -May? Let the time come, and then we will hold bilateral talks and take a final call on how many seats Joseph faction can be given. However, we have already informed our local leadership about the seats being earmarked for the Joseph faction in the civic body elections,” Hassan told TNIE.Meanwhile, Joseph is keen on bringing more aggrieved parties under his fold where P C Thomas, who is currently with the NDA Kerala chapter, has expressed his interest to return to Joseph faction.
With K Francis George, who was earlier with the LDF merging with Joseph faction, and the recent arrival of Joseph M Puthussery from the Jose K Mani faction, Congress is hopeful of more disgruntled leaders from Jose K Mani faction returning to Joseph’s fold. But that doesn’t mean that Congress might part with the 15 Assembly seats to Joseph faction.
Already the UDF meeting has reached an understanding that smaller allies like RSP will be given more seats.“The maximum the Joseph faction is expected to get is 7 -8 Assembly seats to contest in the imminent polls. If we get 10 seats to contest that would be a real bonus,” a Joseph faction leader told TNIE.