THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ruling Left Democratic front (LDF) on Friday put its stamp of approval for the CPM to contest 16 seats and the CPI remaining four leaving no parliamentary constituency for other allies for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The LDF state committee meeting held at the AKG Centre endorsed the CPM decision to take away the Kottayam seat, contested by the JD (S) last time.
Water resources minister K. Krishnankutty and other JD(S) leaders expressed strong resentment over the CPM decision to take their lone seat.
Loktantrik Janata Dal leaders also registered their protest against denial of seat to the party. The LJD had requested Kozhikode or Vadakara claiming that the party had good chances of wresting these seats from the UDF.
At the meeting, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan pacified the JD(S) and LJD leaders saying that the CPM has decided to contest 16 seats in view of the peculiar political situation. The two parties seemed convinced by the chief minister's account.
JD(S) had earlier informed the LDF leaders about its desire to retain the Kottayam seat or swapping with another constituency. But the CPM had made it clear right from the beginning that it would be difficult to leave the constituency for JD(S). The party decided to field district secretary V.N. Vasavan in a bid to snatch the seat from the UDF. The JD(S) demand for swapping the seat with Thiruvanan-thapuram was earlier rejected by the CPI. The JD(S) had claimed that A. Neelalohithadasan would be an effective candidate against Shashi Tharoor of the Congress. However, the CPI refused to even discuss the possibility of parting with the seat.
The JD(S) was forced to take a strong stand as a result of the inner party struggle between the factions led by Mr Krishnan-kutty and former minister Mathew T. Thomas. The LJD lost out as the CPM decided to field a political heavyweight like P Jayarajan in Vadakara and a popular legislator A. Pradeepkumar in Kozhikode.
The other constituents ; Congress (S), NCP, INL, Kerala Congress B and Democratic Kerala Congress had expressed their desire to contest the polls. However, these parties did not insist on the demand and endorsed the CPM decision to contest 16 seats.
Heated exchanges in JD(S) meet: Heated exchanges were witnessed at the JD(S) leadership meeting held in the evening. A section of leaders said the denial of seat to the party was a big setback. They insisted that the party leave the government and the ruling coalition and contest Kottayam seat independently. Former minister Jose Thettayil walked out of the meeting.
Water sources minister K. Krishnankutty tried to mollify the agitated leaders saying that the party agreed to part with its seat to strengthen the anti-fascist front....