After RS seat snub, RJD seeks 1 minister post, meets EP Jayarajan

EP Jayarajan. Photo: Manorama

Kannur: The leadership of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), an LDF ally in Kerala, which has been fuming over the denial of a Rajya Sabha seat has recently met with LDF convener EP Jayarajan in a sign of thawing relations. RJD has raised a demand for representation in the LDF ministry.

“We met the LDF convener EP Jayarajan on an invitation by him on Monday and put up our case. He empathetically listened to us and offered to look into our demands,” Dr Varghese George, RJD’s secretary general, told Onmanorama. The two-member RJD delegation comprised party chief MV Shreyams Kumar and George.

The most important demand raised in the meeting was representation in the LDF ministry. If the LDF heeds it, KP Mohanan, RJD’s lone MLA from Kuthuparamba and the son of late Socialist leader PR Kurup, will become a minister. George says the RJD pointed out that the party workers will get disheartened if respectful positions are not given to the party in the remaining term of the LDF government. “Hardly a year and a half is left before the next Assembly elections and it's time the LDF did something drastic,” George said as having told Jayarajan.

The meeting assumes significance because earlier this month, the LDF had snubbed the RJD's claim for one of the two recent Rajya Sabha vacancies. In the wake of the recent meeting, the RJD hopes the LDF will give in to its due demands in the coming elections to local bodies and the Assembly. “Even though we have only one MLA now, the LDF can’t ignore our strength. In the 2021 elections, CPM’s KP Kunhammed Kutti Master won by a thin margin of 333 votes in the Kuttiadi seat where we had 5000 votes. This applies to Nadapuram too where the CPI doesn’t have much strength but its EK Vijayan won by 4,035 votes,'' said George.

He said that his party enjoyed better recognition in the UDF and was given seven Assembly seats and one seat each in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. “The UDF had also given us the chairmanship of eight corporations and membership in five boards. Now in the LDF, we have the chairmanship of just two corporations and five members on boards. Regardless, we are more comfortable in the LDF than in the UDF.”

Beyond the government roles, the RJD also demanded more positions and say in the LDF leadership. “At present, the RJD is not in the leadership of any district LDF coordination committees either in the 14 districts or 140 Assembly constituencies. We used to lead two LDF district coordination committees in Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta as conveners. This time we are asking for the LDF leadership in Kozhikode.”

The RJD also pointed out the 'injustice' when the seats were shared in the last local body elections. “The formula was incumbents retain seats and losers continue to contest in the same seats. In effect, we couldn’t claim many when the seats were shared, because we were starting afresh in the LDF after a gap of eight years. Still, we managed to become the fourth largest party in terms of the number of seats won after CPM, CPI and Kerala Congress (M).” Two weeks ago, soon after the LDF excluded the RJD from the list of Rajya Sabha MP candidates, Shreyams Kumar complained of ''not getting due recognition'' in the LDF for long. 

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