Kochi: Senior Congress leader K V Thomas will campaign for CPM candidate Dr Jo Joseph for the May 31 Thrikkakara assembly byelection. The former Union minister announced his decision at a press meet in Kochi on Wednesday.
Thomas said he will attend the Left Democratic Front's (LDF) election convention to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday. “After that I will attend other campaign meetings also. I will campaign for Dr Jo Joseph just like I would campaign for myself,” said Thomas, making his stance clear.
Thomas has been sharing a bitter relation with the state leadership of the Congress ever since he was denied a seat to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He was recently stripped of all party positions after attending a seminar organised by the CPM violating a Congress diktat.
Thomas on Wednesday also reiterated that he would continue to be a Congressman. However, in what sounded like a logic of convenience he explained that by Congress he doesn't mean a party framework but a lifestyle.
Thomas said his decision to campaign for the LDF was in line with his pro-development stance. Justifying his decision, he cited the instances where K Karunakaran and A K Antony left the Congress in the past.
Asked if the CPM has offered him any post, he said no.
'Not sure if Dr Jo would win'
Thomas, responding to a query, said he could not say who would win the election, though he wished to see Dr Joseph's victory. Asked if his purported clout within the Latin Catholic Church would help the Left front, Thomas said, “That statement underestimates me. I have influence not only in Latin Catholic church, but also in other churches.
He challenged the Congress leadership to expel him from the party if it can.
A big joke: K C Venugopal
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal termed Thomas' decision a big joke. When asked for a response, UDF candidate Uma Thomas said the party leadership will react to this and that she was busy with electioneering.
Thomas was the Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Food and Civil supplies in the Manmohan Singh government. He has been a member of the Lok Sabha for six terms and was an MLA for two terms. He was also Minister for Tourism in the A K Antony government in Kerala.
Congress leadership in the state has been snubbing Thomas ever since he moved closer to the Left fold. This was evident from Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan's reaction on Wednesday about Thomas' plan to campaign for LDF.
Asked about Thomas' plan, Satheesan looked up at the sky and said, “I think it's going to rain heavily. It's already drizzling.” Satheesan moved away from TV reporters, saying that “whatever be the weather, it will not affect our campaign,” leaving reporters and his party colleagues laughing.
Satheesan's reaction was in tune with the Congress' strategy to ignore Thomas' moves. On Monday, Congress leader K Muraleedharan had said that media was giving undue importance to Thomas.