THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress state leadership’s diplomatic skills will be on display at the crucial UDF meeting on Monday where they will turn down the IUML’s demand for a third seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
More than six months ago, a section of IUML leaders was keen to sever ties with the UDF and cross over to the LDF camp. Though the demand gradually fizzled out, the IUML leadership will have its task cut out trying to convince party workers why their insistence on a third seat was denied.
Besides the sitting seats of Malappuram and Ponnani, the League set its sights on one more constituency — among Alappuzha, Kannur or Kasaragod. When the ticket is denied, the IUML leadership is expected to raise the demand for a Rajya Sabha seat.
Three RS seats held by CPI’s Binoy Viswam, CPM’s Elamaram Kareem and Kerala Congress (M)’s Jose K Mani will fall vacant in July. The UDF will get its hands on one of the seats, which in all likelihood will be filled up by the Congress. UDF allies, the CMP and the Forward Bloc, have already sounded their desire for an RS seat.
At Monday’s meeting, the Congress will apprise the IUML leadership that a third seat risks upsetting the communal balance, it’s learned .
On Sunday, Congress state chief K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan were guarded in their remarks on seat allocation. IUML’s concerns will be genuinely addressed, both told reporters.
“Every LS seat is going to be crucial for the Congress in this general election. Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee openly challenging the Congress leadership, saying the party cannot win more than 40 seats, has only added to the pressure,” a senior party MP told TNIE.
However, IUML general secretary P M A Salam said the party is hopeful of getting a third seat. “We have made clear, in discussions, our right to a third seat. Now the ball is in Congress leadership’s court,” Salam told TNIE.