Even as the Left partners gear up to face the combined might of the Congress and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, in Kerala -- the other Left bastion -- the Left Democratic Front has dipped further into trouble over seat-sharing.
At a crucial meeting on the alliance of the Left Front in Kerala, furious CPI leaders walked out of the discussion as the CPI-M stuck to its position to field an independent candidate from Ponnani in northern Kerala's Mallapuram district. The CPI wants to field its own candidate as the constituency has been traditionally with it according to the seat-sharing agreement between the Left partners.
The LDF partners plan to begin their joint conventions as part of their election campaign from Friday. This might be delayed as the CPI today demanded that the campaign could start only after the selection of seats and candidates are over.
"There is no point going for the conventions now without knowing the candidates and the seats. Let's make the selections first," CPI National Secretary D Raja told Business Standard.
"We have not created any problem. The seat was traditionally with us. So, it's proper that we have a say in candidate selection. How can other parties impose any candidate in our seat?" Raja added.
The CPI leadership has already rejected the CPI-M's proposal to field Hussain K Randathani in Ponnani. Similarly, the CPI's choice of giving ticket to CH Kunjambu is not acceptable to the CPI-M.
The CPI leadership on Thursday hinted it might consider some other names but will not give away the seat for an independent candidate.
The CPI-M feels an independent candidate, with backing from splinter Muslim groups, will be able to wrest the Ponnani constituency. Its move is aimed at mustering support from the minorities in other constituencies at a time when its internal assessment shows the Left is in a comfortable position only in seven out of 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala.