JD-S minister quits Kerala cabinet over seat sharing (Lead)

March 16th, 2009 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 16 (IANS) The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala Monday suffered a setback when Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) Minister for Transport Mathew T. Thomas resigned over seat sharing deadlock.
The JD-S, which has been contesting in Kozhikode seat since 1980, was miffed when the seat was taken from the party.

“This is our sitting seat and at no cost will we concede this. This shows the political immorality of the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and we will not succumb to such pressures and our minister will resign,” said Kozhikode MP and JD-S state chief Veerendra Kumar.

After submitting his resignation to chief minister here, Thomas said: “I am a disciplined party worker and I follow the directives of my party leader. Our party had decided that if we are not given the Kozhikode seat, the minister has to resign. A ministership is not a birthright and I am not being sacrificed either.”

Earlier Monday, Communist Party of India (CPI) assistant secretary K.E. Ismail and state Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran arrived at the CPI-M headquarters here to find a solution to the Ponanni seat deadlock. The seat has been with the CPI for years and it is hesitant to give it up.

“Discussions are going on and soon we will make a decision,” said Ismail.

The CPI-M, after talks within LDF, had earlier cleared the name of 50-year-old college principal Hussain Randathany for Ponanni seat, to which the CPI initially agreed but later backed off on it.

Last week, the CPI even threatened to pull out of the LDF, formed back in 1980, but later resumed the talks.

In the 2004 elections, the CPI-M contested 14 seats, the CPI four and the JD-S and the Kerala Congress (Joseph) contested one seat each.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Congress-S and the Nationalist Congress Party are also members of the ruling LDF.

Polls to the 20 Lok Sabha seats from Kerala are to be held on April 16.

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