Kerala’s ruling combine faces lobbying for Rajya Sabha seats

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 23 (Calcutta Tube) It is time for another round of Rajya Sabha elections in Kerala as three seats fall vacant next month. With the state’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) unsure who its candidates will be, another tussle between its constituents appears in the offing.

Given the current composition of the Kerala assembly, the LDF is sure to get two seats and the opposition Congress party one.

There is no debate on who the Congress candidate will be — Defence Minister A.K. Antony, whose current six-year term is ending now.

Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League will now have to go without representation in the upper house of parliament when P.V. Abdul Wahab completes his term.

Another Congress ally K.M. Mani, who heads the Kerala Congress (Mani), will also have to wait.

All that is clear. What is not so clear is the situation within the LDF.

With V.S. Vijayaraghavan of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M, the major LDF constituent) also completing his six-year term, lobbying for the two seats has started, though officially LDF feigned ignorance.

LDF convener Vaikom Viswan said: ‘Rajya Sabha polls are a long way ahead. Nothing has been thought about it yet.’

But the Revolutionary Socialist Party — a minor member of the LDF — has already pitched in with a request that its national general secretary T.J. Chandrachoodan be one of the candidates.

It remains to be seen if the CPI-M will give up one sure seat, and whether it will renominate Vijayaraghavan, who has completed two terms.

According to the election schedule, the poll will be notified March 9, the last date for filing nominations will be March 16 and for withdrawal March 19. The poll if needed will be held March 26.

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