LDF gains early-bird advantage in initial round

Sealing the seat-sharing pact in time and hitting the campaign trail in right earnest, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has gained an early-bird advantage in the initial round of the Lok Sabha elections.

The front leadership could stick to the schedule it had drawn up for wrapping up the bilateral talks among front partners and for announcement of candidates. Though in protest mode, the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and the Janata Dal (S), which seriously staked their claim to a seat each, fell in line.

Both parties are understood to have expressed their serious reservations about the two major constituents, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Communist Party of India (CPI), apportioning the 20 seats among themselves and engaging other parties for discussions. But the CPI(M) leadership was understood to have convinced the imperative for scaling up the presence of the Left in Parliament, sources said.

Despite the confidence exuded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) to cash in on the Sabarimala issue, the LDF hopes that the induction of new allies would make it perch comfortably in a number of segments. The entry of the LJD is expected to bolster the possibility and prospects of the front in at least three segments in north Kerala, mainly Vadakara, Kozhikode and Kannur.

Similarly, the induction of the Kerala Congress (Democratic) and Kerala Congress(B) has come as a major support for the front in five segments in central Kerala, namely Kottayam, Idukki, Mavelikara, Pathanamthitta and Kollam. Any determined lethal move by the Kerala Congress (M) faction headed by P.J. Joseph, even if he splits and decides to stay within the UDF, is expected to work to the advantage of the LDF.

The CPI decision to field sitting MLA C. Divakaran in Thiruvananthapuram is being construed as a clear message that the front intends to put up a strong political fight here. With the entry of BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan, it would become a three-cornered contest.

The CPI(M) State and district leaderships have gone into an overdrive to keep controversies at bay in the capital and repeat its victory in Attingal, one of its strongholds. Moreover, the State leadership had warned against leaving anything to chance in these prestigious segments, sources said.


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