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Kerala's rival fronts face trouble over seat-sharing

Posted on Mar 07 2014 | IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, March 7 : With just 34 days left for the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, both the state's fronts - the ruling UDF and the LDF - are facing trouble over seat-sharing.

Trouble began Friday in the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) expressing unhappiness over the manner in which it has been treated.

Out of the state's 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Communist Party of India-Marxist has taken 16, giving four to its junior partner Communist Party of India, leaving smaller allies like the RSP and the Janata Dal-Secular with nothing.

As soon as the reports came in of RSP being left with nothing, angry RSP supporters marched down the streets at Kollam, about 70 km from here, which is considered a RSP stronghold. They put up posters of party leader N.K.Premachandran, a former state minister and Rajya Sabha member, as their candidate.

"We are meeting tomorrow (Saturday) to discuss the possibility of even staging a friendly contest. They (CPI-M) called us for seat sharing talks after deciding that we will get no seat," RSP state secretary A.A.Azeez told reporters outside the CPI-M party headquarters.

In the UDF, the pattern has been that the Congress contests 17, the Indian Union Muslim League two and the Kerala Congress-Mani one, but the newest entrant, the Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party, also wants one seat.

Talks on the issue Friday failed to find a solution but both sides were optimistic.

"Some progress has been made and we are meeting again on March 10," said SJD leader M.P.Veerendra Kumar.

Veerendra Kumar walked out of the LDF ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls after the CPI-M denied him the Kozhikode Lok Sabha seat - where he was the sitting MP - and joined the UDF.

At the moment things appear fluid in the rival fronts and it would not be until Monday that the next round of talks will be held to sort out the differences in both the groupings.

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