The upcoming presidential election has invited an unexpected trouble for an ally of the ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala. The state unit of the Janata Dal (S) has found its in a quandary after the party's national leadership decided to extend support to Draupadi Murmu, the candidate fielded by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In Kerala, both the LDF and opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front have decided to back the joint opposition candidate Yshwant Sinha.
The JD(S) Kerala unit landed in trouble after Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy indicated that the party would back Murmu.
The JD(S) has two legislators in the 140-member Kerala Assembly. One of them, K Krishnankutty, is the state minister for electricity.
JD(S) Kerala chief Mathew T Thomas is the party's second MLA in the state. Thomas has said there is no confusion on whom to vote and the party will announce its decision after consulting the national leadership.
In Kerala, the party is most likely to vote for Sinha as its long-standing secular credentials will be questioned if it backs the BJP-backed candidate. It will also have to answer several questions not only from the opposition but from within the ruling front also.
In Kerala, the BJP-led NDA has no representation in the Kerala Assembly.
Indicating his party's support to the NDA candidate Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said a final decision on this will be arrived at soon after going through the background of the two candidates in the fray.
"Already she (Murmu) has discussed with our national president (Gowda) over phone twice and has requested for support. Also, she had sought time to come and meet. I requested our national President that there is no need for her to come personally in the current situation," Kumaraswamy said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said Murmu already has the majority on her side and she has expressed her desire to seek Gowda's support out of goodwill and generosity.
Recently calling Murmu, as a "suitable" and "non-controversial" candidate, Gowda had noted that he doesn't want to refer her as merely a tribal candidate, but wants to say that she is "competent" for the post of President.
Battle lines have been drawn for the July 18 presidential election with the BJP-led NDA naming Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, as its candidate, while former Union minister Yashwant Sinha has filed nomination as a joint nominee by major opposition parties, including the Congress, the NCP and the TMC.
Murmu, 64, had been the Jharkhand governor and also served as minister in the Odisha government earlier in her career.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)