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Kerala Assembly elections: LDF steals march over UDF; completes seat sharing

Kerala Assembly elections: LDF steals march over UDF; completes seat sharing

As per the consensus arrived at the LDF liaison committee meet presided by CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan, of the total 140 seats at stake, CPI-M would contest on 92 seats and CPI on 27.

Thiruvananthapuram: Ironing out differences, opposition LDF in Kerala on Monday finalised its seat sharing arrangement for the May 16 Assembly elections, apportioning a lion's share of 92 seats to lead partner CPI-M while ruling Congress-led UDF continued deliberations on the process.

As per the consensus arrived at the LDF liaison committee meet presided by CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan, of the total 140 seats at stake, CPI-M would contest on 92 seats, CPI on 27, JD(S) five, NCP four, Kerala Congress (Scaria) and Congress (S) one each.

Remaining ten seats had been earmarked for the parties that associate and support the LDF from outside, front Convener Vaikom Viswam told reporters.

Significantly a new party, Janathipathy Kerala Congress, formed by a group of rebels in Kerala Congress (M) led by Francis George, has been given four seats while Indian National League (three), a faction of CMP (one), RSP (L) of Kovoor Kunjumon former MLA (one) and Kerala Congress (B) (one).

LDF completed the process after days of parleys among its partners.

There are no major changes in the number of seats to be contested by each party compared to 2011 polls.

However, LDF denied seat to JSS, the party of communist veteran K R Gouri, and also to former government Chief Whip and KC-M rebel P C George, who left UDF after differences with party leader and former Finance Minister K M Mani.

The LDF is expected to announce the list of candidates on March 30 and its manifesto on April 5, Viswam said adding the campaign would start after April 14.

Meanwhile, bilateral talks on seat sharing between Congress and KC-M in UDF remained inconclusive.

"The talks will continue," KC-M leader K M Mani told reporters.

The party has demanded more than the 15 seats that it contested last time.

Congress leaders Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC President V M Sudheeran on Monday left for Delhi for final consultation and high command's approval for the party candidates.

The party had already prepared a list of probables for the 82 seats the party is contesting in the state.

Meanwhile, BJP, the third major force in the state, trying to make breakthrough in the bi-polar politics of Kerala, is holding its state-level convention of NDA on March 30. BJP leader and Union Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda would inaugurate the campaign.

The new party Bharat Dharam Jana Sena formed by Sree Narayana Dharam Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an outfit of backward Ezhava community, is the major ally of BJP in the state.

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