Politics
Will MP Veerendra Kumar return to the LDF fold? He speaks to TNM.

In a major political development, Member of Parliament and the Kerala supremo of the Janata Dal (United) MP Veerendra Kumar, has announced that he will resign from the Rajya Sabha.

Speculations are rife that he will return to the Left Democratic Front, the ruling coalition in the state.

Speaking to TNM, Veerendra Kumar said that he will not continue as an MP representing Nitish Kumar’s party even for a second. “The JD (U) is in a political crisis. The rift began from the time the JD (U) joined the BJP led NDA. When it came to supporting the Presidential candidate too, Nitish Kumar took the decision unilaterally. I don’t want to continue as the MP of his party.”

“The Election Commission has given the symbol of the JD(U) to Nitish Kumar. The other factions of the party can’t claim the symbol now. In Gujarat the faction that opposes Nitish Kumar is contesting in autorickshaw symbol,” he said.

Veerendra Kumar’s faction of the JD (U) is at present aligned with the United Democratic Front led by the Congress in Kerala.  Veerendra Kumar had been with Janata Dal (Secular) and later formed the Socialist Janata Democratic in August 2010 supported by a section of Janata Dal (Secular) leaders.

Veerendra Kumar had worked with the LDF headed by the CPI (M) till 2009. He parted ways with the coalition during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls after the CPI (M) rejected his demand for the Kozhikode seat.

However, JD (S) continued in the LDF coalition even after the 2009 elections. Jose Thettayil, Mathew T Thomas and a few others chose to stay on with JD (S), Mathew T Thomas is currently a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan government. K Krishnankutty and CK Nanu are the other MLAs of the party.

SJD joined hands with the UDF ahead of assembly polls in 2011. SJD merged with JD (U) in December 2014.

When asked if there had been any formal talks with the LDF or any formal invitation from the front, Veerendra Kumar said that had not been any discussion with CPI (M) in this regard so far.

He however added that he was unaware if his former colleague and JD (S) leader K Krishnankutty had talks with CPI (M). “I have spoken to JD (S) leaders about working together. I don’t know if Krishnankutty had discussion with anyone of the CPI (M). The decision regarding returning to the LDF will be taken only after discussing in the party state committee. I can’t take the decision alone,” he said.

Later in a press meet Veerendra Kumar said that it will be a mistake to merge JD (U) with the JD (S).  “The decision to resign MP post is technical. Looking back I feel that we shouldn’t have joined JD (U). SJD will be revamped,” he said.

He said that the socialist party leaders in the country in the past were national leaders but now they were all just regional players.

CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told media that the party or the coalition has not received any official intimation on it. “It’s all in the news but we have no communication from any of the JD (U) leaders. If we any communication happens we will react on it.”

Though the JD (U), under the UDF umbrella, had contested in seven seats in the 2016 Assembly polls they didn't win even a single seat. Sitting MLAs MV Shreyams Kumar who is also Veerendra Kumar’s son and KP Mohanan lost the election. Mohanan was the Agriculture minister in the Congress led Oommen Chandy government.

Interestingly Mohanan has been taking part in ‘Padayorukkam’ political rally by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala at present. Padayorukkam will conclude at Thiruvananthapuram on December 1 with a mass public meeting in which Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will speak.

Veerendra Kumar's political move assumes significance as both the LDF and the UDF aim to win as many seats as possible in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.