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Bihar chief minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar formally decided to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or NDA earlier this year. Photo: PTI
Bihar chief minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar formally decided to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or NDA earlier this year. Photo: PTI

Kerala JDU head Veerendra Kumar to resign from Rajya Sabha

Veerendra Kumar, who opposed Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's decision to join NDA, may join the ruling LDF along with his supporters in JDU's Kerala unit

Bengaluru: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has cost his Janata Dal (United) one seat in the Rajya Sabha, with MP Veerendra Kumar, the party’s Kerala unit head who was opposed to the switch, deciding to step down.

The decision, announced on Wednesday by Veerendra Kumar who heads JDU in Kerala, also paves the way for his entry to the state’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). The JDU in Kerala was so far part of the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).

Soon after Veerendra Kumar spoke, Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan invited him to join LDF. Kanam Rajendran, secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), the other major LDF constituent, also welcomed JDU.

JDU would be the second big party to leave UDF after the coalition lost power in assembly elections in May, 2016. A month after the elections, the third biggest alliance partner of UDF, Kerala Congress (Mani), had exited the front.

Veerendra Kumar’s entry, if happens, will be a big victory for the expansion plans of CPM-led LDF. Kumar was part of LDF until 2009 as the state chief of Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS. The 81-year-old is also a noted writer and publisher of Mathrubhumi, one of the two big media houses in Kerala.

“I do not want to continue as MP since the party at the national level led by president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has become part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)," Kumar told reporters in Kozhikode district, a report on the website of The Hindu newspaper said. However, the report said quoting Veerendra Kumar that he has not taken any decision about leaving the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and joining the LDF till now.

According to a state unit leader of JDU, officially, the party may be leaving a layer of ambiguity about the plans to switch the alliance, which is because it is still figuring out the exit options at hand, but the talks are definitely moving towards entering LDF. Such talks have accelerated after JDU joined NDA at the national level, this person said, asking not to be identified.

For a long time until 2009 Lok Sabha election, Veerendra Kumar as JDS chief was a fellow traveller of the Communist regime in Kerala. He broke away with the front over differences on seat sharing agreements and formed his own party, Socialist Janata (Democratic) which soon merged with the JDU and joined the UDF, while a rival faction stayed with LDF. The rival faction later merged with JDS.

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