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CPM-CPI tension over Kerala’s Ponnani constituency seat eases

CPM-CPI tension over Kerala’s Ponnani constituency seat eases
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First Published: Sat, Mar 14 2009. 01 15 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 15 2009. 06 42 PM IST
Kochi: The two main communist parties in Kerala have buried the hatchet for now after days of wrangling over a single seat for the coming national elections.
Easing tensions, CPM, which leads the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the state, said on Friday that it has allotted four seats to its alliance partner CPI to contest the Lok Sabha elections in April-May, including the contentious Muslim-dominated Ponnani constituency.
CPM had earlier suggested LDF propose a consensus independent candidate for the Ponnani seat, where the Muslim League has won in the previous nine parliamentary elections with margins of at least 100,000 votes.
Pinarayi Vijayan, secretary of CPM’s Kerala unit and a politburo member, said his party never intended to take away any of the four seats allotted to CPI in the previous elections. CPI(M) had then won in 13 of the 14 seats it contested, while three out of four CPI candidates won.
LDF plans to contest in 14 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The issue came to a blow after Hussain Randathani, a historian, began campaigning as LDF’s candidate for the Ponnani seat. CPI then proposed its own candidate—A.P. Kunhamu, a bank employee and social activist.
Earlier on Friday, Veliyam Bhargavan, secretary of CPI’s Kerala unit, said at a press meet that CPM had usurped the Ponnani seat.
Bhargavan had said CPI would contest in all the 14 constituencies where CPM was contesting.
Later, CPM’s Vijayan clarified CPI had been allotted its usual four constituencies, including Ponnani, where a consensus candidate would be proposed after talks at the national level.
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First Published: Sat, Mar 14 2009. 01 15 AM IST