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LDF in Kerala to meet over vacant Rajya Sabha seat

PUNJAB NEWSLINE BUREAU
July 30, 2020 05:20 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Election Commission on Thursday declaring bypolls for two Rajya Sabha seats -- one in Uttar Pradesh and another in Kerala on August 24 as these were vacant due to recent deaths of two Members, the ruling CPI-M led LDF will take a call on whom to field, said a top leader.

The Kerala seat fell vacant due to the death of 83-year-old media baron and veteran socialist, M.P. Veerendra Kumar on May 28. His tenure was to end on April 2, 2022.

The notification for the elections will be issued on August 6. The last date for filing nomination for the elections is August 13. The scrutiny of nomination will be held on August 14 and the deadline for withdrawal of nomination is August 17. Voting will take place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on August 24 and the counting of votes will be completed on August 24 at 5 p.m.

Speaking to IANS, LDF convenor A. Vijayaraghavan said it's too early to decide on who is going to get or given the seat.

"The convention in LDF is, when such a thing happens, it first meets and decides. With Covid taking a heavy toll in the state and especially the state capital affected, we will decide next week on when the LDF should meet. At the moment it's too early to say anything about it. Let us meet and then we will decide," said Vijayaraghavan, a former Upper house member himself.

Former Union minister and managing director of Mathrubhumi -- the second largest circulated vernacular daily in the state, Veerendra Kumar suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.

The Rajya Sabha member was the former state committee president of Janata Dal (S), Socialist Janata (Democratic) and Janata Dal (United). He was also the founder leader of Loktantrik Janata Dal, the present outfit which is led by his high profile son and two time former legislator M.V. Shreyams Kumar.

The veteran Veerandra Kumar's then party Janata Dal (U) remained part of the LDF till 2009, but shifted to the Congress-led UDF camp after he was denied his sitting Lok Sabha seat of Kozhikode.

Kumar's party nominee was given a Cabinet post when the Oommen Chandy government assumed office in 2011.

Kumar lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by over one lakh votes and since then he was unhappy with the UDF. However, the UDF offered him a Rajya Sabha seat in 2016.

When he had decided to quit the UDF, he put in his resignation from the Upper House in 2017 December.

Later he rejoined the CPI-M led Left Democratic Front, which allowed him to contest to the Rajya Sabha and he became a member again in 2018.

According to the general norm, in all likelihood the LDF will give the seat to his own party and it remains to be seen if the seat will go to Shreyams Kumar or someone else.

This new development comes at a time when the LJD and Veerendra Kumar's erstwhile JD (S), both presently allies of the ruling LDF are planning to become one unit and hence a possibility of someone other than Shreyams Kumar getting the seat, cannot be ruled out.

The victory for the ruling LDF candidate is a foregone conclusion as in the 140 member Kerala Assembly, the LDF has 89, the Congress-led UDF 47, BJP and Independent one each and two seats are vacant.

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