Kurien denied RS ticket; Congress offers lone seat to ally

With Kurien's term ending on June 30, Congress will now have to scout for a new face for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election if it does not decide to leave the candidature to an Opposition party.

With Kurien's term ending on June 30, Congress will now have to scout for a new face for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election if it does not decide to leave the candidature to an Opposition party.

The decision evoked protests from a section of Congress leaders in Kerala like former KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and others even as senior leaders Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and M M Hassan, who were part of the negotiations in Delhi, tried hard to douse the fire within the party.

Earlier in the day, as news spread that the seat may go to KC(M), Kurien himself criticised the move, calling it  "match-fixing".

The announcement came after a series of meetings in Delhi. First, the Congress leaders met party chief Rahul Gandhi, followed by another meeting with Muslim League General Secretary P K Kunjalikutty and KC(M) Vice President Jose K Mani, a Lok Sabha MP.

Interestingly, KC(M) is still not part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (Kerala), which it exited over differences on a variety of issues post 2016 Assembly elections. The offer of the seat comes as Congress and KC(M) reached an understanding that the latter will announce its re-entry into the Front on Friday after a party meeting.

Strengthening feat

"There was unanimity in the UDF that KC(M) should return. Though it had left UDF, it was part of the UPA at national level. At present, they have one Rajya Sabha seat and its term is ending. We have offered the seat UDF can win to KC(M) under peculiar circumstances," Chandy told a press conference.

"Congress can win only one seat now and usually in such a situation, we take that seat. Only when UDF can win two seats, we offer it to the allies. There was a request that we give up the seat. This is a one-time arrangement. Next time, when UDF is in a position to win two seats, we will have both. It is just that we are postponing it by four years when the next elections happen," Chennithala said.

The decision to bring back KC(M), which has a following among Christians in central Kerala, to the UDF is seen as an effort by the Congress-led alliance to strengthen itself ahead of Lok Sabha polls as the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front is reported to have emerged stronger among minority communities.

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Kurien denied RS ticket; Congress offers lone seat to ally

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