"I am always a Congressman. I will neither quit the Congress nor join any other party. I am taking part in the LDF's poll campaign also as a Congressman," Thomas said.

KV Thomas and Dr Jo JosephFacebook
news Politics Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 16:09

Reiterating that he would not quit the Congress party, senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) member and former Union minister KV Thomason Wednesday, May 11, said that he would campaign for the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate Dr Jo Joseph in the upcoming by-poll in the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency. He had been at loggerheads with the state Congress leadership for a while.

Addressing a press conference in Kochi, he said he would participate in the CPI(M)-led LDF's election convention, to be attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as part of the campaign and challenged the Congress leadership to oust him from the party. He said he would also cooperate with the other campaign programmes of the Left candidate in the coming days for the election, scheduled on May 31.

"I am always a Congressman. I will neither quit the Congress nor join any other party. I am taking part in the LDF's poll campaign also as a Congressman," Thomas said. Justifying his action, the leader said he was a person who always took a stand for the development and in Thrikkakara also, his position was the same. “The success or failure of the Left candidate would not make any change in my pro-development stand,” he explained, and claimed that he was not the first person campaigning for the Left party from the Congress. He pointed out the examples of former Chief Ministers K Karunakaran and AK Antony, who had cooperated with the Left at some point of their political careers.

Congress candidate for the bye-poll Uma Thomas, who recently expressed confidence that Thomas would not campaign for the CPI(M), on Wednesday, declined to comment on the latest development saying she is busy with the campaigning and the party leadership would react to it. While Congress picked Uma Thomas, widow of late Congress leader and MLA PT Thomas whose death necessitated the bye-election, LDF chose Dr Jo Joseph, a prominent cardiologist, as its nominee and BJP decided to field its state vice-president AN Radhakrishnan.

Unleashing a scathing attack against the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and the party's state leaders, he alleged there was a deliberate attempt to kick him out of the party since 2018. In a veiled attack against KPCC chief K Sudhakaran, Thomas said those who indulge in social media campaigns against him were a "paid team" led by certain leaders.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, last month, had approved the disciplinary panel's recommendations which was of the view that Thomas should be removed from the state political affairs committee and the executive committee of KPCC. The disciplinary committee's decision came on a complaint sent by KPCC chief and MP K Sudhakaran seeking action against Thomas for attending the CPI(M) party congress held in Kannur in April, despite a direction by the party not to.

Thomas had defended his decision to attend the CPI(M) event, saying he decided to go as he was threatened that if he did, he would be out of the party. The veteran Congress leader not only attended the event against the party’s wishes, but also praised CM Pinarayi Vijayan and extended his support for the contentious SilverLine semi-high-speed rail corridor project.

Meanwhile, Thomas's announcement that he would campaign for the LDF triggered sharp reactions as AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal made it clear that action would be taken against the leader. Noting that the PCCs have the power to initiate action against those who work against the party candidates in elections, he said that the KPCC can decide on the action to be taken against Thomas, which would be endorsed by the AICC.

As the United Democratic Front (UDF) tries to retain its numbers in the Assembly and the LDF attempts to increase theirs to 100, the BJP which does not have a single seat would be hoping to be represented in the state Assembly.

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