KOTTAYAM: While joining the LDF in October 2020, the only assurance Jose K Mani received from the CPM leadership was that the Kerala Congress (M) would get to contest from the Pala constituency in the assembly elections.
When the seat-sharing talks in the LDF is reaching a climax, the KC(M) has not only received Pala, where chairman Jose is all set to contest but has also ensured 12 seats in its kitty, making the party the third largest constituent in the Left Front.
With this, Jose has emerged as the leader of the most powerful party in the LDF after the CPM and the CPI. That apart, the CPM has been making all efforts to provide Changanassery as the 13th seat to the KC (M), for which the CPM is continuing talks with its long-term partner, the CPI.
As per the current understanding in the LDF, the KC (M) will get four seats in Kottayam district including Kaduthuruthy, Pala, Poonjar and Kanjirappally. Besides, the KC (M) will contest from Ranni, Idukki, Thodupuzha, Piravom, Perumbavoor, Chalakudy, Kuttiyadi, and Irikkur constituencies as well. A decision on the Changanassery seat will be taken after the talks between the CPM and the CPI. Interestingly, this is an unprecedented recognition for a newcomer as far as the Left front is concerned.
Apparently, KC (M)’s performance in the local body elections, which helped the LDF conquer the UDF bastion of Kottayam, played a significant role in ensuring a decent position within the LDF.
Leaving little room for complaints from other constituents, the CPM has led from the front in ceding seats to the new entrant. Of the 12 seats given, six were from the CPM’s kitty, while other partners like the Democratic Kerala Congress (DKC), Kerala Congress (Scaria Thomas), NCP and the CPI vacated the rest of the seats. Except for NCP’s victory in the previous by-election in Pala, other partners had lost in the previous election .... in Kottayam.
Notably, the CPM ceded its two sitting seats and two winnable seats to the KC (M), ignoring protests from the party’s lower leadership and grassroot-level workers. While Ranni has been the sitting seat of the CPM for the past 25 years, with Raju Abraham being the MLA since 1996, the CPM has not tasted defeat in Chalakkudy after BD Devassy wrested the constituency from the Congress in 2006. In the previous election, Devassy had won by a margin of 26,648 votes.
Perumbavoor has also been a strong centre for the LDF with CPM’s Saju Paul registering a hat-trick of victories, from 2001 to 2011. But he lost in 2016.
Similar is the case with Kuttiadi, which was formed after the delimitation in 2011. CPM’s KK Lathika won in 2011 but lost in 2016 with a slight margin of 1,157 votes.
While Piravom presents an equal chance to the LDF, in Thodupuzha, the LDF independent was defeated by Kerala Congress leader P J Joseph by a whopping margin of 45,587 votes in 2016.