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Infighting in LJD reaches a flashpoint

Haris, Pillai factions meet CPI(M) leaders, claim to represent LJD officially

The factional feud in the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) appeared to reach a flashpoint on Friday.

State general secretaries Sheik. P. Haris and V. Surendran Pillai met CPI(M) leaders at the AKG Centre here to stake their claim as true representatives of the LJD, seemingly tottering at the brink of a vertical split.

Both leaders had sought the removal of M.V. Shreyams Kumar, MP, as LJD State president. They reportedly told CPI(M) leaders that their faction had the backing of K.P. Mohanan, the LJD’s sole legislator from the Koothuparambu constituency in Kannur.

The leaders reportedly told CPI(M) leaders that they feared Mr. Kumar would expel them from the LJD at the party’s State working committee meeting in Kozhikode on Saturday.

They requested the CPI(M) to consider them as the LJD official faction in such an eventuality. The leaders demanded that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) assign boards and Corporations to their nominees and reject those proposed by Mr. Kumar.

The LJD leaders denied that their factions would merge with Janata Dal (S), another LDF partner. They reportedly told the CPI(M) that Mr. Kumar’s faction had spread the rumour that they would defect to the JD(S) to hurt them. Many LJD workers in Malabar were averse to aligning with the JD(S).

Both the leaders had opposed Mr. Kumar’s "corporate style" functioning. Mr. Haris and Mr. Pillai reportedly rebuffed LJD national general secretary Varghese George’s contention that the party would stay united despite the divergent views of its senior leaders.

The CPI(M) has reportedly braced itself for a showdown in the LJD. By one account, the CPI(M) has asked LJD leaders to find common ground and prevent infighting from escalating into a split and mutual expulsions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumar’s supporters reportedly met in Kozhikode to express solidarity with the LJD State president ahead of the conclave.

Mr. Haris and Mr. Pillai claimed to have the support of LJD’s rank and file. They met CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan and CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran.

Mr. Kumar had been fighting dissension in the LJD ever since he succeeded his father M.P. Veerendrakumar to the post of party State president. A section in the LDF had opposed Mr. Kumar’s decision to contest from the Kalpetta Assembly constituency while remaining a Rajya Sabha member.

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