Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: Senior Congress leader K V Thomas has called for a press meet in Kochi on Saturday amid speculations he would leave the party and contest as a candidate backed by the Left Democratic Front in the upcoming Assembly election.
The veteran has been sulking ever since he was not allowed to contest in the last Lok Sabha election and was denied a significant position in the party's leadership.
The Congress leadership in the state wants to retain Thomas within the party fold. But some among them are almost sure that he has decided on a drastic move. Top leaders in the party know that only an intervention by the High Command could resolve the issue. But this would not be easy either.
Thomas had reportedly held several rounds of talks with the CPM leadership, sources indicate. He also has several personal ties with those in the Left camp and the BJP. Both have also been frequenting Kumbalangi, Thomas' native place, and accepting his hospitality.
Senior Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala had informed Thomas last week they don't mind offering him the post of KPCC working president. However, he replied that he would have accepted if this post was offered a month ago. He also categorically stated that no post should be announced without his consent.
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal also contacted him but Thomas did not yield.
Though the state leadership has no objection in giving him a party post, they are reportedly unwilling to give an assembly seat to Thomas, who wants to contest from Ernakulam or Kochi in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Earlier Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had assured him a suitable post after he was side-lined during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Thomas had requested for the post of either AICC general secretary, UDF convener, or KPCC working president. But during the subsequent KPCC rejig, he was not recommended for the post of working president from Kerala. Instead, the party brass recommended that the High Command should decide on it.
This was part of a ploy not to name anyone as both groups of the party had submitted other names for the post of the working president. But the AICC too did not budge as the Kerala leadership did not give a clear directive.
Another suggestion before Sonia Gandhi was to put Thomas in-charge of the KPCC media campaign committee after K Muraleedharan resigned from the post. But Thomas refused to take up the responsibilities of the party's 'Jai Hind' channel and 'Veekshanam' newspaper.
Party leaders wonder why Thomas is unhappy even though he was rewarded well with ministerships and he had become an MLA or MP more than once. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had even listed out these on Wednesday.
"K V Thomas is a respected leader. The Congress party had given him the Lok Sabha seat six times. He was a Union Minister and State Minister. Also, a KPCC treasurer and DCC president. And the PAC chairman in Parliament. He will continue to be with the Congress," Chennithala insisted.
Meanwhile, CPM Ernakulam district secretary C N Mohanan said, "Let K V Thomas first clarify his stance, after that we will respond. If a Congress leader, who advocates secularism, is ready to support the Left front, we would welcome the move. If he voices such a wish, the CPM state leadership and Left front would take a call on whether to accept it."
Political career of K V Thomas:
- Five-time MP (Victories in Ernakulam - 1984, 1989, 1991, 2009, 2014. Only loss in Ernakulam - 1996)
- Union Minister – 2009 to 14
- Twice the Member of Legislative Assembly (2001, 2006)
- State Minister – 2001 to 2004
- Thrice Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman