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CPI (M) pushes for merger of minor parties in LDF

Too many coalition partners had made laborious the task of seat-sharing in the Kerala Assembly elections and subsequently allotment of Cabinet berths

After successfully striking alliances and cutting deals with detractors in the Assembly polls, the CPI(M) is competently pushing for the merger of two so-called socialist parties’- Janata Dal ( Secular) and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) – as well as the as amalgamation of three Kerala Congress parties – Kerala Congress (B), the Democratic Kerala Congress (DKC) and Kerala Congress (Skaria Thomas).

Also, the CPI(M) State leadership wanted the residual faction of Congress (S) led by Ramachandran Kadannappally to merge with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). However, the Left parties are not enthused over bringing Kerala Congress (M), its nascent partner into its realpolitik mode of things for various reasons, sources said.

Party sources said that too many coalition partners had already given the CPI (M) leadership a laborious task in seat-sharing in the Assembly elections and subsequently allotment of Cabinet berths within the Left Democratic Front (LDF). A major view cited for the merger of small parties was that political partners with like-minded ideologies should not remain separate political entities within a coalition.

In the multi- cornered contest last month, the rainbow coalition of Left parties had unquestionably become stronger and emerged victorious in many constituencies. The CPI (M) won 62 out of the 77 the party contested in the polls. This, a better achievement when compared to the 58 seats it had won after contesting 90 assembly segments in the 2016 polls.

In the case of CPI, however, the party won 17 out of the 23 seats it contested. And that is down by two, when it contested the same number of seats.

Ahead of the three-tier local body polls, the CPI (M) had tried hard to unite the JD (S) and LJD so as to streamline the process of seat- sharing. Now the LJD which won a seat after it contested three sitting seats of the Left front was excluded from the Cabinet berth while the JD (S) was allotted a Ministry after the party succeeded in retaining two seats.

Previously the merger of these parties failed to take off after several rounds of talks. Now both will have to take a call on the proposed merger. Certainly, the merger would strengthen the JD (S) as a whole but then its fate remains uncertain if its national leadership moves closer to BJP- led NDA, sources said.

Incidentally the CPI (M) had decided to allocate Cabinet berths to four single-MLA parties on sharing the term basis. Thus Antony Raju of DKC and Ahammad Devarkovil of Indian National League secured Ministership for two-and-half years. As per the pact reached within LDF, K. B. Ganesh Kumar of Kerala Congress (B) and Mr. Kadannappally of Congress (S) will replace them for the remaining tenure.

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