Friday, March 20, 2009

Janata Dal (S) storms off LDF meet, may leave bloc

19 Mar 2009, ET Bureau

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The disgruntlement within the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala became more palpable today with the Janata Dal (Secular) members walking out of the LDF meeting here on Thursday after the CPM made clear that JD(S) would not get the Kozhikode seat to contest.

That has opened a range of possibilities that could weaken the Left bloc, including the JD(S)'s likelihood of contesting from the Kozhikode seat on its own, besides the speculation that the JD(S) may see a full-fledged divide in its own ranks over the issue of backing the Left bloc in the national context of a Third Front.

JD(S) representatives K Krishnan Kutty and Varghese George walked out of the LDF meet here this afternoon following the clarification that JD(S) would not get the Kozhikode seat. The party representatives said the CPM's decision to deny the Kozhikode seat to the party was "unjust" and one that would "weaken the Left coalition".

It is learnt that when the CPM announced its decision to field its candidate at Kozhikode, other parties in the coalition kept mum even as JD(S) protested. JD(S) leaders said the decision to deprive the party of the Kozhikode seat was nothing short of political betrayal, considering that the JD(S) had been part of the Left coalition from its formation.

The Janata Dal (S) will now decide on their next course of action at the party's state council meeting on March 22. The two vital decisions the party will have to take that day are about continuing in the Left coalition and about contesting in the Kozhikode and other seats.

The opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, which is hoping to put up a much better performance this time as against the single seat it won through the Indian Union Muslim League in 2004, is expected to benefit substantially from the tumult with the Left bloc.

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