As HD Kumaraswamy joins Modi Cabinet, Kerala JD(S) parts ways; to rebrand as new party

Currently, JD(S) has two MLAs in the Kerala Assembly: Thomas and K Krishnankutty. The latter also holds a ministerial portfolio.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jun 18, 2024 | 8:47 PM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 8:49 PM

Kerala JD(S) MLAs Mathew Thomas and Krishnakutty.

In a notable political shift, the Kerala unit of Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) has decided to rebrand itself by dropping its current party name and forming a new political entity.

On Tuesday, 18 June, JD(S) state president Mathew T Thomas confirmed — following a state committee meeting — that steps were being taken to register a new name for the party.

He added that the final decision was pending due to a review of the legal considerations.

“We remain committed to supporting the Left Democratic Front (LDF). The Kerala unit will align with JD(S) only if the national leadership disassociates itself from BJP,” said Thomas.

Currently, JD(S) has two MLAs in the Kerala Assembly: Thomas and K Krishnankutty. The latter also holds a ministerial portfolio.

Related: JD(S) decision to join BJP-led NDA could cost it its lone ministry in Kerala

Rift between national, Kerala factions

The unit’s decision to sever ties with the JD(S) national leadership came in response to the latter’s electoral alliance with BJP for the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

The fallout of that decision was that Karnataka JD(S) chief HD Kumaraswamy is now a member of the Union Cabinet.

“Throwing the very foundational principles of the party, that it would uphold socialism and alienate itself from BJP and Congress, the national leadership and the Karnataka faction joined hands with BJP. Because of this, we (the Kerala faction) have severe ties with both of them,” said Thomas.

“We have had no communication with them for the past six to eight months,” he added.

Thomas also said though the Kerala faction was technically operating under the JD(S) name, it had a different political ideology.

“We know that it’s a technical as well as legal anomaly. But at the same time, there were local body representatives and MLAs. They had to fulfil their responsibilities towards those who elected them. Thus, a decision will be taken after analyzing all these aspects,” he noted.

While making it clear that the Kerala faction would drop the JD(S) label, Thomas said that a new party would be formed first and then the Kerala faction would merge with it.

“The name of the new party is yet to be decided. Regarding the merger, a few persons were appointed to examine its legal aspects. Also, we want to make it clear that once the national leadership of JD (S) understand their mistake and sever its ties with BJP, we will think about merging our new party with it,” explained Thomas.

Earlier, the CPI(M) leadership as well as Congress asked the Kerala faction to clarify its position against the backdrop of the JD(S) national leadership joining the NDA at the Centre.

It is learnt that once the new party comes into being, neither Mathew T Thomas nor K Krishnankutty will join it as it may attract disqualification. Thus, another leader — Jose Thettayil — might take the leadership role.

Also, the new party might consider names like Kerala Janata Dal or Socialist Janata Kerala.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)

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