The introductory move of the new LDF convenor, E P Jayarajan, resulted in the worst thing expected from a person given the job. Fuming LDF allies.
Jayarajan's not so subtle overture to the India Union Muslim League had caused deep bitterness within the LDF fold. The new LDF convener had said that the LDF would have to be open to the idea of welcoming the League to the fold if the League realised the mistake of continuing with the Congress and opted to break out of the UDF. Also, Jayarajan said that his primary objective was to expand the LDF and evolve tactics to widen its base.
CPI general secretary Kanam Rajendran was the first to react. He swatted away Jayarajan's "tactical" move with a terse comment: "No talks on expanding the LDF had taken place. The new LDF convener would have been just stating his opinion."
Sensing the mood, the CPM Secretariat too forced Jayarajan to swallow his words. "Muslim League has not been invited to the LDF," Jayarajan said in a Facebook post on the CPM's official page on Friday.
The CPM Secretariat made it clear that the invite to the IUML was both untimely and improper and said it had caused confusion among the party cadre. Like Kanam, the CPM state secretariat also said that expanding the LDF was not on the agenda at the moment.
Besides the CPI, top leaders in the CPM were also upset by Jayarajan's open invite to the League. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and former LDF convener, and now a politburo member, A Vijayaraghavan have repeatedly branded the League "communal". Jayarajan spoke highly of the League saying that it was the only party with a mass base in the UDF, and called its leader P K Kunhalikutty "the kingmaker". He had even admitted that discussions were held in the past about including the League within the LDF fold.
Jayarajan who had just a day ago extolled the League as a party with a "mass base", on Friday hinted that the LDF had no need of a party like the League. "It was without the League that the LDF returned to power. The LDF also improved its seats from 91 to 99," Jayarajan said. By expanding the LDF, Jayarajan said he only meant that individuals and groups getting closer to the LDF enamoured by its policies.
CPM politburo member M A Baby sought to establish the new narrative. "There is no reason for any confusion in Comrade E P's stand. What he said was that the objective is not to bring a party to the LDF but individuals within a party. Comrade E P was only saying that the UDF constituents were deeply dissatisfied," Baby said.
Moreover, Jayarajan also claimed that some ‘unexpected’ UDF constituents would join the LDF. Mani C Kappen, who had left NCP – an ally of the LDF – too would be welcomed, he said.
At the same time, PK Kunhalikutty, the national general secretary of the IUML, rejected E P Jayarajan’s offer outright. “IUML has no plan to switch fronts,” he said.
The RSP too shunned the LDF leader’s overtures.
The CPM state conference had decided not to include IUML in the LDF even if it left the UDF. An expansion of the LDF was also ruled out.
With E P Jayarajan making a statement contradictory to the official CPM decision, a major controversy erupted. However, realizing his mistake, the CPM leader soon withdrew his statement and claimed that he had not invited IUML to the LDF.