Decision on Rajya Sabha seats set to give LDF a fresh headache

CPM decides to retain its seat, leaving either KC(M) or CPI to give up theirs | Both minor allies stand firm on their claim for different reasons
CPI state secretary Binoy Viswam and Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani
CPI state secretary Binoy Viswam and Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K ManiPhoto | Express

KOTTAYAM: After a bruising Lok Sabha election, the LDF is now facing the challenge of electing members to two of the three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala that will be vacated on July 1 by CPM’s Elamaram Kareem, CPI state secretary Binoy Viswam and Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani. Currently, the LDF is in a position to call the shots on two seats, with the UDF getting the remaining seat — to which Jose was elected when his party was part of the Opposition front.

During LS seat-sharing talks, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) was promised the RS seat to be allotted to the UDF. Within the LDF, however, the CPM has decided to retain its seat, leaving either the KC(M) or the CPI to give up theirs. But with both the minor allies standing firm on their claim, the LDF leadership is facing a difficult situation. While the CPI will discuss the RS seat issue in the soon-to-be held state executive meeting, the KC(M) held a primary discussion in its steering committee meeting on Monday and resolved to stick to its claim.

“Kerala Congress(M) joined LDF with a Rajya Sabha seat and we are entitled to retain the seat. We will not back down from asserting our rightful position. Our stance will be made clear during the upcoming LDF meeting. It is worth noting that when the CPI had taken a seat the previous time, we did not make any claims,” a Kerala Congress(M) leader said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Jose skipped questions saying the LDF would discuss the issue and take the appropriate decision.

Apart from ensuring a national presence, the RS seat is crucial for KC(M) as it is currently held by party chairman himself. Denying the seat will potentially impact the internal dynamics of the party.

The seat held by Binoy Viswam is also significant for the CPI. With the question over the second-in-command within the LDF remaining unresolved, the party will need a second parliamentary seat to solidify its position. During a similar crisis over the Kanjirappally assembly seat held by the CPI, then state secretary Kanam Rajendran had resolved the issue by relinquishing the seat to the Kerala Congress(M). However, such a compromise may not be feasible now.

CPI state executive member C K Sasidharan expressed optimism of reaching an agreement at the LDF meeting.

Currently, CPM’s A A Rahim, V Sivadasan, and John Brittas and CPI’s Sandosh Kumar are the other LDF members of the Rajya Sabha. Congress’ Jeby Mather and IUML’s P V Abdul Wahab are the UDF nominees to the Upper House.

Positions unclear

  • The RS seat is crucial for KC(M) as it is currently held by party chairman himself. Denying the seat will potentially impact the internal dynamics of the party

  • With the question over the second-in-command within the LDF remaining unresolved, the CPI will need a second parliamentary seat to solidify its position

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