Political parties in Kerala gear up for LS polls


By Sradha Meloot

With Parliament elections a few months away from now, major political parties in Kerala have commenced their preparations with an eye on obtaining the maximum share from the total 20 seats.

While the CPM led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) have already started the process of finalising the poll strategies, the BJP is yet to begin any formal discussions.

The LDF, which has now in its fold Kerala Congress (B) of R Balakrishna Pillai, Lok Tantrik Janata Dal of Veerendra Kumar, Indian National League and the Democratic Kerala Congress of Francis George, hopes to improve its previous perfomrance. In the LDF state committee meet, the first one after the new parties were inducted, has given a frame work for kickstarting its campaign for the coming lok Sabha elections.

Focussing on the Narendra Modi’s misrule and ‘oust Modi’ campaign, the Left Front will be commencing two marches. The Southern march will start from Thiruvananthapuram and the northern one will begin from Kasargode in the second week of February, LDF Convenor A Vijayaraghavan said.

Both the Jathas will converge in Thrissur, he added.

The marches have been framed in such a way that it covers all the assembly constituencies.

Vijayaraghavan said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers and other leaders would address the public meetings held as part of the march. The LDF would be taking up the wrong economic policies of the Modi government, unemployment, false promises of Modi, crisis in the agriculture sector among other issues. Along the march, Sabarimala issue would also be discussed, especially on the role played by the sangh parivar outfits who had tried to create chaos.

On the part of the UDF, the Front leaders also met the other day for the first time ahead of the elections and the discussions were mainly focussed on seat sharing. Highly placed sources said that the Kerala Congress (Jacob) and the Kerala Congress (M) have demanded more seats in the LDF Liaison committee meeting. Meanwhile, the IUML, second largest party in the Front has not demanded any more seats, the sources said.

A decision on the seats will be finalised only after bilateral discussions with coalition partners. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the partners were told that discussions with coalition partners on seat sharing will be taken up soon. However, the sources said that the Kerala Congress leaders would not backtrack from their demand of more seats. The UDF also decided to form committees at parliament and assembly constituency level. Apart from this, the UDF has also started discussions with parties such as Kamaraj Congress, Socialist Revolutionary Party and others who are willing to join the Front.

The BJP is confident that it could open the account for the first time from Kerala as the situation is conducive after the party’s agitation on Sabarimala issue.

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