Senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has said that the United Democratic Front (UDF) should change its traditions and allow more youngsters and new faces for the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections. He was speaking at an event in Wayanad, after arriving in the district as part of a two-day trip. He had met with senior members of the UDF including Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy.
Rahul also emphasised on the need to make an election manifesto which expresses the needs of the people and not that of the wishes of a leader. He would stay for various activities in the Karipoor-Vandoor localities before moving to Wayanad. He also met with senior leaders from the Indian Union Muslim League as well as the Congress party.
Rahul also inaugurated the new building and gate of Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School in Wandoor. During the inauguration, the Wayanad MP motivated students to work hard, do well and be independent. “It is your responsibility to make yourself and your sister independent, but with humanity and respect,” he told the students.
Much before they met with Rahul, Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala had reached Pannakkad to meet with IUML president Hyderali Thangal, PK Kunhalikutty, KPA Majeed. They discussed the upcoming election and seat-sharing, especially on the background of the various issues that had been plaguing the alliance. The League had asked for six more seats on top of the 24 they contested in 2016, since Janata Dal and Kerala Congress (M) Jose faction has left the alliance.
Chennithala and Chandy tried to reconcile with the league brass, as the Congress leaders explained that to give the IUML more seats would create a religious polarisation in central and south Kerala, and on the practical difficulties on the issue. The LDF convenor and CPM acting state president A Vijayaraghavan had alleged that the Congress and UDF are relying “more on religious-political powers just to weaken the LDF”. “The UDF is facing a dearth of political direction, and their alliance with religious political parties is a challenge to the secular nature of Kerala,” he added.
In regards to their meet with IUML leaders, the Congress has agreed on three additional seats where one is a mutually agreed independent candidate. Further discussions will take place later, but the real challenge ahead for the alliance will be the meeting with Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress (M). They have demanded 15 seats, which the united Kerala Congress (M) had contested in 2016 for UDF. With the split, the demand seems impractical, believes a few political experts.