Dissident JD(S) leaders meet in Kovalam, decide to hold plenary in Bengaluru on 9 December

The party's national vice-president CK Nanu convened the meeting in Kerala, but the state unit of the JD(S) stayed away from it.

ByK A Shaji

Published Nov 15, 2023 | 8:41 PMUpdatedNov 15, 2023 | 8:43 PM

The JD(S) logo.

Adding further confusion to the future course of action by different groups within the Janata Dal (Secular), a set of party leaders from different states gathered in Kovalam near Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, 15 November, and decided to convene a national plenary session in Bengaluru on 9 December.

The meeting, organised by the party’s national vice president and former Kerala minister CK Nanu, was attended by CM Ibrahim, who was recently removed from the post of the Karnataka unit president by the party’s all-India president HD Deve Gowda for refusing to join the BJP-led NDA.

The meeting, reportedly attended by leaders from 11 states, formally rejected Gowda’s decision to join the BJP-led coalition — the NDA — and denounced efforts to turn the party into a family business.

Interestingly, the Kerala unit of the party — including state president and MLA Mathew T Thomas, and Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty — stayed away from the meeting despite objecting to the alliance with the BJP.

Party national general secretary and former Kerala minister Jose Thettayil told South First that Nanu convened the meeting in his personal capacity and the state leadership was not consulted.

He also said the meeting in no way helped fight Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy, who were trying to make the party the B-team of the BJP.

Meanwhile, Nanu told South First that the leaders who met in Kovalam would soon write a joint letter to Gowda, asking him to end the alliance with the BJP before the plenary.

Related: JD(S) Kerala wants its ministership, scraps plan to float regional outfit

Chiefs of 11 state units in meeting

While the presidents of 11 state units of the JD(S) attended the meeting in person, four participated virtually, Nanu said.

He said the plenary meeting on 9 December would formally reject Gowda’s plan to join the NDA. Gowda would also face the consequences for acting unilaterally, Nanu said. He said it was imperative to safeguard the party’s “secular” character and vision.

Asked about other Kerala leaders staying away from the meeting, Nanu said it was the party’s national leadership meeting, and it turned out to be a gathering of leaders opposed to Gowda’s decision to join the NDA.

He said he preferred not to respond to leaders like Thomas and Krishnankutty boycotting the meeting. However, Nanu stated that the Kerala unit would be requested to attend the plenary in Bengaluru, and it would have to adhere to that directive.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim stated that the party would take action against the two MLAs — Mathew T Thomas and Krishnankutty — if they failed to attend the plenary session.

Also read: Siddaramaiah says he won’t be surprised if JD(S) merges with BJP

JD(S) in Kerala

The party in Kerala appeared to be divided over the future course, and state leaders believed that Nanu and Ibrahim acted hurriedly without properly consulting with other state units.

Nanu’s action coincided with the JD(S)’s state leadership delaying its decision on whether to follow Gowda or take a different approach.

It has been believed that the Kerala unit chose to take this position of delaying in order to avert legal action by Gowda against the two MLAs under the Representation of Peoples Act.

Asked about the possibility of launching a new party, Nanu stated that the gathering was the first in response to the development.