Some former Congress allies may soon join Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), strengthening the communist coalition’s grip over central and southern parts of the state.
It would help LDF enjoy an expanded vote base in central and south Kerala, ahead of the 2019 general election, said a Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM leader, requesting anonymity.
The party also expects the regrouping of alliances to make a dent on its arch rival Congress and the rising third front under the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala.
Given that Kerala is the last bastion for the CPM, India’s biggest communist party, they are pinning big hopes from the state in the 2019 general election.
The expansion plans will be discussed with existing alliance partners in an LDF meeting on Thursday, the CPM leader said, adding the party secretariat had approved the move during a meeting on Saturday.
The meeting decided to bring veteran politician and newspaper publisher Veerendra Kumar to the party fold. Kumar, who had recently quit Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), over differences with Nitish Kumar, but still retains the loyalty of a wide section of the party’s Kerala unit, was recently elected as an independent member to the Rajya Sabha with Left backing, he added.
Other probable alliance partners include Indian National League, a splinter group of United Democratic Front (UDF) ally Indian Union Muslim League; and Kerala Congress (B), headed by former UDF leader Balakrishna Pillai; besides Janathipathya Kerala Congress and Kerala Janapaksham, both splinter groups of UDF sympathizer K.M. Mani’s Kerala Congress (Mani), headed by Francis George and P.C. George, who were close associates of Mani.
Except for a lone KC(B) MLA, none of the others have seats in the current assembly. Notably, all these leaders were part of the LDF, before switching loyalties to the ruling Congress-led UDF between 2011 and 2016. In the past two years, the parties were seen to be coming closer to the Left Front camp.
Mint tried to contact the leaders named, but they were unavailable for comment, except George. “We are having positive discussions. Some of us may not be entering as a group, but as a single party. It may not be proper for us to negotiate cabinet berths as the current government was voted to power without us, but we would negotiate on Lok Sabha seats," said George.