The exit of the Jose K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) and the the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) from the United Democratic Front (UDF) has prompted the Congress central leadership to stand firm on the party taking over the seats vacated by them for the Assembly polls.
One of the reasons, senior leaders cite is that the legislators of the Congress has been on the decline over the past few elections. Last time, the Congress contested 87 seats and emerged victories only in 22 segments, indicating that its strike rate has been abysmally poor far below its dominant constituent, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which contested 24 seats and won 22 segments.
At the same time, in the 2011 polls, the Congress managed to secure 39 out of the 82 seats it contested even when the UDF captured power with three more seats than the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). Already some of its partners have started eyeing more seats after the Jose faction and the LJD made their way out now.
The KC(M) had contested 15 seats while the LJD, then Janata Dal (United), seven. The KC(M) won six and the transformed party drew a blank. Additionally, the Congress State leadership will have to convince P.J. Joseph who is leading the residual faction of the KC(M). In the 2016 election, his faction within that party had exclusively got to contest four seats.
The State leadership, the sources said had been tasked with the process of reasoning out with its partners on the necessity of putting its own nominees in the seats previously offered to the Jose faction and the LJD. The winnability quotient of the Congress candidates were better in segments having Christian and Hindu voters.
Also, the leadership has been mooting the idea of its senior leaders entering the fray that will embattle the anti-propaganda of the CPI(M) that the Congress is playing a subservient role to the IUML, the sources said.
Affiliates of the Congress party have already started clamouring for a share of the electoral pie in the Assembly polls. Moreover, it would have to intelligibly deal with others — Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Kerala Congress (Jacob) and Communist Marxist Party (CMP).