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Ruling Left ally LJD on the verge of split in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 17 (IANS) The stage is now set for an imminent split in the ruling Left Democratic Front ally - Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with a faction on Wednesday asking state party president M.V. Shreyams Kumar to step down from the president's post and quick to respond was Kumar, who ruled it out.

"Kumar has been functioning in an autocratic manner and has done nothing for the party. He has to step down before November 20. If he fails to do so, the state council meeting will be called and a new set of office bearers would be announced," said Sheikh P. Harris, soon after he chaired a meeting of office bearers of the party, here.

Harris along with former State Minister Surendran Pillai are leading the faction of those who have raised a banner of revolt and they claim to have the support of the lone party legislator K.P. Mohanan and Varghese George, a top party functionary.

Kumar is the son of former Socialist veteran and Rajya Sabha member M.P. Veerendra Kumar, who passed away last year.

After his death, the Rajya Sabha seat was given to Kumar and trouble in his party began ever since Kumar while being a member of the Upper House decided to contest the Kalpetta assembly seat in the April 6 assembly polls, but he lost.

Incidentally, Kumar and his father had returned to the ruling Left alliance after ending their ties with the Congress-led UDF in 2017.

Veerendra Kumar, who was all along with the Left soon after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections after he was denied his sitting Kozhikode Lok Sabha seat by the Left, in a jiffy dumped them and joined the Congress led UDF.

What irked the rival faction headed by Harris is that Kumar after he lost the assembly polls, in order to be in the good books of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, did not raise a demand to get a cabinet berth for the lone party legislator Mohanan.

But he denied all the allegations that was raised by Harris and said he has always gone by the decisions taken by the party.

However the coming days will reveal the fate of the LJD as both the factions now claim they are the real party and veteran CPI-M Politburo member and State party secretary on leave, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan however tried to play down the rift and said that this is an internal issue of that party and it will be looked into it by them.