Congress to contest 16 seats in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress Party will contest 16 seats in Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said here on Wednesday.

The allocation of seats within the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) for the Lok Sabha elections has been finalised, he said.

Like in the previous polls, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest coalition partner in UDF, would contest in two seats, the LoP said while addressing a press conference here.

The announcements were made by UDF chairman and Opposition Leader V D Satheesan during a press conference here, which was also attended by KPCC chief K Sudhakaran.

Like in the previous elections, the IUML would contest in two seats — Malappuram and Ponnani– in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the Congress will contest in 16 seats, IUML- 2, KCJ (J) – 1 and RSP-1.

“As per the discussions held within the UDF, the Congress will contest in 16 seats, the IUML in Malappuram and Ponnani, the RSP in Kollam and the Kerala Congress (J) in Kottayam,” Satheesan said.

The IUML leadership recently made it clear that they demanded one more Lok Sabha seat this time and said they won’t backtrack from their decision.

Admitting that the IUML had demanded a third seat during the discussions, Satheesan said the Congress party is also of the opinion that the League deserves this. But, the IUML leadership was convinced about the difficulty of allotting more seats in the present circumstances, the LoP explained.

“Instead of that, the Congress has decided to give the next Rajya Sabha seat that becomes vacant to the IUML,” he said.

During the discussions with the constituent parties, the UDF decided to strengthen the INDIA alliance by going ahead with the activities of winning all 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, he said.

Satheesan also said there is a public sentiment in Kerala against the Central and state governments.

Congress sources here said the LoP and the KPCC chief would soon go to New Delhi to finalise the party candidates.

The announcement of the candidates would be made in the national capital, they added.