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Rajya Sabha polls next headache for UDF

Rajya Sabha polls next headache for UDF

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's ruling Congress-led UDF has a new crisis: who to field in the Rajya Sabha election next month?

Three Rajya Sabha members - Vayalar Ravi (Congress), P. Rajeev (CPI-M) and M.P. Achuthan (CPI) will retire in April.

With its present strength, the United Democratic Front can win two of the seats. But the problem is that there are too many claimants for the two seats.

Kerala has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha including one nominated member.

Traditionally, the Congress, the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kerala Congress (Mani) -- all part of the UDF -- share the vacancies in the upper house.

This time there are other claimants too.

While the Congress will corner one seat, the IUML wants one as it has had no representation in the Rajya Sabha since 2010.

The IUML is the second biggest member of the UDF.

Media baron M.P. Veerendra Kumar, a long-time ally of the Left, contested the Lok Sabha election from Palakkad but lost.

Cut up with the UDF for giving him an "unsafe" seat, he was placated with a promise that he would be considered for the Rajya Sabha.

His hopes appear to have been dashed as two IUML leaders, K.P.A. Majeed and former Rajya Sabha MP P.V. Abdul Wahab, are in contention.

In the Congress, 77-year-old Ravi is seeking one last term. UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen, P.C. Chacko and state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran also want a safe passage to the upper house.

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