By setting April 6 as polling day, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has seemingly imbued the three major political coalitions in Kerala with a sense of urgency to finalise the often vexatious seat-sharing between constituents.
The announcement has also pressured individual political parties to wrap up candidate selection to wrest an early bird advantage in campaigning. The LDF leadership has tested the water with coalition partners. The CPI(M) and the CPI have announced that they were willing to give up a few of their seats to billet the newly arrived KC(M) and LJD.
The insurrection in the NCP over the Pala seat had ended with Mani C. Kappan’s defection to the UDF. The CPI(M)-CPI consultations are in the offing next week.
The UDF seat budgeting deliberations are on. The UDF leadership’s talks with P.J. Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress (M) has reached the end-stage. The KC(Jacob) group led by Anoop Jacob has demanded an extra seat and Piravom in Ernakulam.
The RSP has demanded two additional seats. The Congress was reportedly against ceding extra seats to the two parties. It has also cold-shouldered P.C. George of Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) attempts to join the UDF.
The Congress candidate selection has also entered its penultimate stage.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy are scheduled to finalise the list in consultation with the party’s national leadership in New Delhi on March 10. The Congress has reportedly given weightage to candidates with a high chance of success and shunned apportioning of seats to party factions.
The NDA is expected to go into the final round of seat-sharing talks after BJP State president K. Surendran completed his “Vijaya Yatra” in the capital on March 7. The BDJS, the primary partner in the NDA in Kerala, has proven to be accommodative of the BJP’s demands. The BJP’s national leadership would announce the party’s candidates for the Assembly elections in New Delhi next week.