New partners in LDF eye Lok Sabha seats
By  IANS | Updated:  Feb 03, 2019, 06:22 PM
New members in the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the CPI-M want to contest the Lok Sabha elections, posing fresh headaches for the Marxists.
Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats. In 2014, the CPI-M contested 10 seats and won five. The CPI fought four and won one, Janata Dal-S lost the lone seat it contested and two of the five independents backed by the LDF won.
In December last year, the LDF inducted four new parties: Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), Indian National League, Democratic Kerala Congress and Kerala Congress (Pillai).
Although not all four allies will be allowed to contest, the chances of giving a seat each to LJD and Democratic Kerala Congress is high, given their strongholds.
The LJD is led by media baron M.P. Veerendra Kumar.
Kumar left the LDF just before the 2009 Lok Sabha election after the CPI-M failed to give him his Kozhikode seat to defend.
At that time he led the Janata Dal-S. He and his supporters moved towards the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and he formed the Socialist Janata Dal.
Last year, unhappy with the UDF, he quit and expressed his willingness to rejoin the LDF. He was re-admitted after he formed the LJD, with Sharad Yadav leading it nationally.
Kumar has told the LDF that his party wants to contest from Wayanad or Badagara.
"Do you think any political party will say they do not want a seat to contest?" asked Kumar's son M.P. Shreyams Kumar, a former two-time legislator, when asked about their party's stand.
The Democratic Kerala Congress has also sought one seat: Pathanamthitta, Kottayam or Idukki.
In 2014, the CPI-M sprang a surprise when they fielded ace comedian and character actor Innocent, from Chalakudy seat as an independent candidate and he turned giant killer when he trounced Congress veteran and sitting Lok Sabha member P.C. Chacko.
Likewise, their candidate Joyce George, another independent, won from Idukki.
While Innocent is most unlikely to be fielded for a second time, George wants a second term.
Speaking to IANS, LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan said: "We have a policy of discussing all this in the LDF and then with parties on a one-to-one basis. Our discussions begin next week. We will be announcing our candidates in the first week of March."
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