While they are trying to unite different parties to form a non-Bharatiya Janata Party, non-Congress alliance at the Centre, the Communist Party of India - Marxist and the Communist Party of India on Monday intensified their tussle over the Ponnani Lok Sabha constituency in northern Kerala's Mallapuram district.
After the CPI announced its intention two days earlier to field its own candidate from that seat, the CPI-M's Central Committee today put its foot down and stuck to its plan to field an independent Muslim candidate from the minority-dominated seat.
All members who spoke on this issue today at the CC vehemently opposed the CPI's demand to field its own candidate. Some members even suggested that if the CPI went ahead and fielded its candidate, then the CPI-M should also put up a candidate for a 'friendly fight'.
The CPI-M-'s tactical move to field an independent candidate in consultation with other Muslim-dominated local political parties is aimed at mustering support from the minorities in other constituencies.
The party feels this gesture will not only improve its chances of winning Ponnani by shaking the Muslim base of the Muslim League but will also help get support from smaller Muslim groups in other outfits like the PDP of Abdul Nasser Madani.
The CPI state council, however, made it clear last week that it would not leave Ponnani. According to the seat-sharing agreement with the CPI-M, the seat is one of the four seats allotted to the CPI, which has been fielding candidates there in the previous elections .
The CPI-M had even identified Hussain K Randathani as the prospective candidate. He is said to be from a Sunni organisation.
Meanwhile, People's Democratic Party chairman Madani has already threatened to put up his candidates against CPI in Thrissur, Mavelikkara and Thiruvananthapuram if the party goes ahead with its plan to contest in Ponnani.