Representational image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: With the Election Commission announcing the date for the Assembly election in Kerala, UDF’s seat sharing talks are in the final stage.
The seats vacated by Kerala Congress (Jose) faction and LJD, who have joined LDF, will be shared between Muslim League and Congress. Muslim League, who had demanded 5 seats are likely to receive a maximum of 3 additional seats. Congress had agreed to give 2 seats to Muslim League.
Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded Muslim League to relinquish Thiruvambady for C. P. John. The Muslim League is yet to give a clear response in this regard. If IUML decides to relinquish Thiruvambady for C. P. John, Congress will have to give another seat to Muslim League in return.
Muslim League is more or less guaranteed of Kunnamangalam seat in Kozhikode. Muslim Youth League vice president Najeeb Kanthapuram is likely to contest from Kunnamangalam. Congress and Muslim League had exchanged Kunnmangalam and Balusserry during the last Assembly polls.
Muslim League is likely to receive its additional seats in Malabar region itself. IUML is ready to take over Thavanoor and Nilamboor seats from Congress. But IUML has limited leverage to push for more seats in Malappuram district where they are contesting in 12 out of the 16 seats available.
There is a high chance that Congress will give Thavanoor seat, from where Higher Education Minister K. T. Jaleel is likely to contest, to Muslim League. This will result in winning Thavanoor becoming a prestige issue for both the CPI (M) and Muslim League. The Congress is likely to demand Guruvayur seat from IUML in return for Thavanoor.
In Kannur district, Muslim League has its eyes set on Koothuparamba besides Beypore. IUML had demanded Perambra but Congress is likely to give Beypore. IUML is likely to get Chadayamangalam instead of Punalur. The two parties may exchange Kalamassery seat also.
Muslim League is likely to field a female candidate. Jayanthi Rajan is likely to contest from Chelakkara, where Congress had lost in the last three elections. Even in 2016, when UDF faced a debacle, Muslim League had showed its strength by winning 18 out of the 24 seats it had contested.
The seat sharing talks are likely to be concluded within one week. The only confusion is regarding the seats for Kerala Congress (Joseph) faction. Joseph is not ready to compromise on his demand for 12 seats. However, the Congress is ready to offer a maximum of 9 seats.