CPI and KC(M) to contest Rajya Sabha polls in Kerala as CPI(M) bows out

This decision comes amid internal pressures and criticism following recent electoral setbacks that the Left party suffered.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jun 11, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedJun 11, 2024 | 7:00 AM

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In an unexpected move, Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) — the main constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala — has decided not to field a candidate in the upcoming Rajya Sabha election scheduled for 25 June.

This decision comes amid internal pressures and criticism following recent electoral setbacks that the Left party suffered.

As a result, the Rajya Sabha election is expected to see the LDF represented by the Communist Party of India (CPI), which will field PP Suneer, and Kerala Congress (Mani) or KC(M), which will field Jose K Mani.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) will reportedly field Haris Beeran, a candidate from Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The Rajya Sabha election is for the three seats that will fall vacant on 1 July as the six-year tenure of three LDF Rajya Sabha members — Binoy Viswam of CPI, Elamaram Kareem of CPI(M), and Jose K Mani of KC(M) — end that day.

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CPI(M)’s predicament

Sources have indicated that CPI(M)’s decision was influenced by the unwavering demands of allies CPI and KC(M).

The two parties were apparently adamant about their right to contest in the Rajya Sabha elections.

This internal dynamic forced CPI(M) to concede, highlighting fractures within the coalition.

CPI(M) has been facing increasing criticism following its poor performance in recent elections.

Calls for a change in leadership and a shift in the party’s style of functioning have been raised, particularly from some CPI district committees.

The criticism points to a growing discontent within the LDF, as members push for strategic and structural reforms to regain voter confidence.

At the same time, it is also said that as an Assembly bypoll was in the pipeline, CPI(M) didn’t want to disturb the coalition partners and hence yielded to their demands.

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Alliance considerations

Meanwhile, LDF convenor EP Jayarajan told reporters that the decision was taken for the unity of the alliance.

Earlier, it was said that CPI(M) would retain its seat in the Rajya Sabha. However, with both CPI and KC(M) openly staking claim for it, CPI(M) expected that sparks would fly.

Meanwhile, CPI was of the stance that it could not switch its seat, represented by its senior leader, to KC(M).

The latter was of the stance that as the party was represented by Jose K Mani in the Rajya Sabha, it had the right to claim the seat.

Given its strength in the Assembly, the LDF can send only two of its candidates to the Rajya Sabha. The third slot is expected to be taken by the UDF.

It is against this backdrop that CPI(M) decided to hand over the two seats to CPI and KC(M).

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)