The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar has warned Thomas K Thomas, an MLA from Kerala, for openly criticising party’s state president P C Chacko. Pawar has “expressed strong displeasure” on the statements made by the Kuttanad MLA who recently unleashed an all-out attack on Chacko.
Speaking to TV channels, Thomas had said that Chacko was acting in an authoritarian manner and trying to finish him off in his Kuttanad seat. He also accused Chacko of harbouring some agenda which was only known to the latter.
“Pawar has warned Thomas not to be undemocratic and give such statements against Chacko who is a senior leader of the party. This is highly objectionable. If Thomas has any complaint against Chacko, he could have brought it to the party forum,” a media statement issued by S R Kohli, permanent secretary, NCP, said.
Thomas was so harsh in his criticism of Thomas that he even dragged the name of Pawar into the tussle between the two. “Ever since Chacko joined the party, the party’s decay started. He thinks he has come from the heaven. He thinks he is close to Pawar so that he can do anything. Chacko is threatening everyone with disciplinary action. Isn’t the same applicable to him,” Thomas told a TV channel. He repeated the allegations to other channels also.
Thomas’ outburst against Chacko appears to be the fallout of a power tussle going on between the two for long. The tussle got intense recently with the reorganisation of party units. The warring factions of the NCP have announced two district presidents in Alappuzha of which Thomas’ Kuttanad constituency is part of. While the official faction has nominated S Hameed as the district president, Thomas’ stance is that the incumbent N Santhoshkumar should be retained in the post. The party’s Alappuzha unit had recently witnessed tense moments as the Chacko faction broke open the district committee office. In response, Thomas mobilised his supporters and locked the office with a new lock in the presence of police.
Thomas’s stance is that Chacko sabotaged the possibilities of an internal election in the district and was trying to usurp the district unit by force.
Thomas is the brother of businessman-turned-politician Thomas Chandy who won thrice from Kuttanad but passed away while being a legislator in 2019. His seat was given to Thomas in the 2021 Assembly elections which he won comfortably. The NCP has two MLAs in Kerala, the other being A K Saseendran who is also a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Cabinet. Saseendran is believed to be a loyalist of Chacko.
Chacko was appointed the party’s Kerala president in May 2021, two months after he joined the party after quitting Congress. Ever since his appointment, he cemented his position as the numero uno in the state unit leading to his re-appointment in September 2022. The re-election triggered a controversy with party’s national secretary walking out of the meeting which took the decision, alleging that Chacko sabotaged the organisational poll process.