Former general secretary of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Vijayan Thomas joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi on Friday. The BJP has been looking to make inroads among the Christian voters in the southern state. It may field Thomas, who hails from the minority community which has a sizeable presence there, in the upcoming assembly polls.
Elections in the state are scheduled to be held on April 6.
Vijayan Thomas took a swipe at his former party, claiming that it does not have a regional-party presence in many parts of the country and that its leadership does not know what is happening.
Echoing the views of PC Chacko, another Congress leader from Kerala who quit the party recently, he said that the party is divided into two factions in the state, and that a lot of its senior leaders may leave soon.
Inducting him into the BJP, its general secretary Arun Singh said that Vijayan Thomas is influenced by the policy and programmes of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
Vijayan Thomas had earlier quit the Congress apparently over denial of a party ticket to fight the assembly polls. He, however, rejected the view and said that it had become very difficult for a "principled" person like him to continue in the party.
There had been a buzz about him joining the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well.
Speaking at Vijayan Thomasâ€™s joining ceremony, BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan took a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying that he is "responsible" for opening the floodgates in the party for its leaders to leave. Tom Vadakkan had left the Congress party two years ago to join the BJP.
In Kerala, where the fight is primarily being seen as between the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), the BJP has been working hard to emerge as a strong force.
(With PTI input)