Left split in Kerala over seat sharingMarch 13th, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS
Thiruvananthapuram, March 13 (IANS) Kerala’s two dominant and ruling Left parties were set to fall apart Friday over seat sharing in the Lok Sabha election, a day after they announced the birth of a multi-party coalition to contest the polls.
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) was beset with trouble after the Communist Party of India (CPI) Friday gave an ultimatum to Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) saying if not given the Ponnani seat, which it has been demanding for long, it would put up candidates in all seats that the ‘big brother’ CPI-M contests in the forthcoming elections.
After a meeting of the top brass at the party headquarters, CPI state secretary Veliyam Bharghavan said further talks on the issue would not be held with the CPI-M.
“We will meet on March 16 and if they don’t give us the Ponanni seat, we will put up our candidates in all seats, barring where the Kerala Congress (Joseph) is fighting and also where the Janata Dal-Secular is to get a seat,” an angry Bharghavan told reporters.
The Kerala Congress (Joseph) has been given the Idduki seat while the JD-S is tipped to get the Kozhikode seat.
“We will not succumb to the pressure of the CPI-M,” he said, adding: “Is this the way an alliance functions?”
“Without our support none of the CPI-M candidates will win. The CPI-M has been taking a stand which is not conducive for a political front,” said Bharghavan.
The CPI has been insisting on putting up its candidates for the Thiruvananthapuram, Trichur, Mavelikara and Ponnani seats. While it was given the first three seats, talks for Ponnani failed.
The CPI-M said a firm no to Ponanni seat, which the CPI has been contesting for long. Several rounds of talks were held, but all proved futile.
Asked about the formation of a Third Front in Bangalore Thursday where both the Communist parties were present, an angry Bharghavan shot back: “That you ask the CPI-M and not us.”
Asked by reporters if his party’s national leadership shared his opinion, the CPI leader said: “I am also part of the leadership and they are all aware.”
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 that was formed in 1979.
Polls to the 20 Lok Sabha seats from Kerala are to be held on April 16.
Secretary of the CPI-M’s state unit Pinarayi Vijayan is scheduled to announce his party’s reaction later Friday.
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