Image of IUML supporters used for representational purpose
Image of IUML supporters used for representational purpose (File Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)

No 3rd Lok Sabha seat, says Congress, but League remains optimistic

Congress sources said the party leadership has categorically told IUML state president Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal that it was not in a position to part with an additional LS seat.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/MALAPPURAM : The Congress has officially informed the IUML of its inability to give a third seat to the influential UDF ally in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, top party sources said on condition of anonymity.

However, Muslim League national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty refuted the reports and maintained that talks are still on and no final decision has been taken yet. The Congress has also declined to give IUML any assurance on a second Rajya Sabha seat.

Congress sources said the party leadership has categorically told IUML state president Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal that it was not in a position to part with an additional LS seat. On directions from the party high command, the leadership contacted Thangal over phone, and passed on the message, before the party’s outreach programme, sources said.

“The Congress cannot part with its lone Rajya Sabha seat either. One RS seat was allotted to Kerala Congres (Mani) under exceptional circumstances when both K M Mani and Oommen Chandy were alive. Such a situation doesn’t exist now,” a top Congress leader said.

Kunhalikutty said in Malappuram that discussions on the third LS seat were far from over. “They are still continuing,” he said. He, however, declined to divulge further details.

Senior IUML leader K P A Majeed told TNIE that there was no official communication from the Congress state leadership on the third Lok Sabha seat. 

A difficult pill for IUML

“Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan had spoken to Sadiq Ali Thangal last week after he returned from abroad. They have not held talks after that,” Majeed said.

For IUML, the Congress decision is a difficult pill to swallow. It will not be that easy for the League to convince its workers , who genuinely believe that the party deserves a third LS seat. Criticism has already emerged from various quarters, accusing the party of not leveraging its bargaining power effectively. “The IUML deserves a third LS seat. Without IUML support, it will be challenging for the Congress to win in Kerala,” said a League leader. There is a prevailing sentiment among party workers that the IUML leadership is not sufficiently championing for the party’s interests, he added.

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