|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
DIC(K) factor to delay UDF seat-sharing
March 06, 2006 21:16 IST
Striking an alliance with Democratic Indira Congress (K), led by veteran leader K Karunakaran, may delay the seat-sharing exercise in the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, whereas the rival Left Democratic Front will be hitting the campaign trail in full force by mid-March.
Though Karunakaran's option has narrowed down to returning to the UDF either as a partner or a strategic ally, when it comes to seat-sharing he could prove as tough as he has always been in the past.
Even as a powerful section in the Congress, led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, is opposed to any ties with DIC(K), the UDF partners including key ally Muslim League, are keen to have Karunakaran back in their combine.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who met UDF constituents' leaders in Kochi Sunday, had left the issue of settling the DIC(K) question to the party's state unit and a decision is expected in a day or two.
Karunakaran has reacted to the development, saying his party's stance would be spelt out by March 20, which means if the alliance materialises it would take another few days to work out the seat-sharing.
According to political observers, if the UDF forges ties with Karunakaran, the front would have to set aside at least 15 seats for his party. The partners, despite holding Karunakaran's brief, might insist that the DIC(K)'s share should be given from the Congress quota.
After the split in the Congress, nine Congress legislators loyal to Karunakaran had resigned from the assembly.
Two members of Kerala Congress (Jacob) had merged with DIC(K). That means, DIC(K) has a rightful claim for a minimum of 11 seats.
Apart from this, the party might demand a few extra seats to accommodate some of those who stood loyal to the group.
According to Congress sources, "gifting" over a dozen seats to Karunakaran could upset the the Congress' plan to work out a well-balanced list of experienced hands with due representation for women and youth.
While a thinking is still strong in the Congress that keeping Karunakaran off would do good for the party in the long run, the partners argue that alliance with DIC(K) was essential to face the challenge posed by the LDF.
They buttress their argument by the logic that slight erosion in votes could prove fatal to the UDF as the winning margin last time was below 2,000 in about 20 segments.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M)-led LDF is set to complete the seat-sharing process this week itself.
Barring minor issues like demand for a couple of extra seats from partners like CPI, the LDF is free from major inter-coalitional troubles.
CPI-M politburo is expected to clear the party's candidates list on March 10 and the state committee is to make a formal announcement on March 15.
The constituents of the coaltion would also be sticking to this schedule as the front is keen to have a headstart over the rival.