Would take decision on attending CPM conference tomorrow, says sulking Kerala Congress leader Thomas

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister K V Thomas is keeping everyone guessing about his participation in a seminar during the CPI(M) 23rd Party Congress, which began in Kerala’s Kannur Wednesday. The Congress state leadership retorted that Thomas would be shown the door if he attended the seminar.

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Even though the Congress high command denied him permission to attend the CPI(M) event, Thomas has not so far openly stated that he would go by party direction. Instead, he has been harping on the necessity of a “united fight against the BJP.’’ Even after Congress denied permission for Thomas to attend the seminar, CPI(M) on Tuesday included Thomas as one of the participants in the seminar on “central and state relations,’’ slated for Saturday. CPI(M) Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan said that they expect Thomas would be attending the seminar.

Thomas told the media in Kochi on Wednesday that he would announce his decision on Thursday. “The present political situation in the country demands the emergence of a non-BJP political alliance at the national level,” he said.

Reacting to Thomas’ belligerent stand, Congress state president K Sudhakaran said “Thomas would attend the seminar only if has any plan to leave the Congress. I hope he would not attend the CPI(M) event and maintaining suspense over the decision may be his tactics.’’

The CPI(M) had invited Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Thomas to attend the seminar. As state leadership of the Congress took strong exception to party leaders attending the CPI(M) event at a time Congress is spearheading the agitation against the Left government in Kerala on the semi-high speed rail corridor, they had approached the party high command, which in turn, denied permission for the senior leaders to attend the CPI(M) seminar.

Tharoor had immediately announced his decision to go by the directive of the party. Thomas is still keeping the options open. Congress state president Sudhakaran made his stance known that the party leaders do not take part in the event considering that scores of Congress workers were killed by CPI(M) in Kannur, where the Party Congress is being held.

Thomas, a five-time parliamentarian, has been sulking in Congress after he was denied a ticket in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. He had served as a Union minister in the second UPA regime and had been known for his close links with party president Sonia Gandhi. He had also represented the state assembly two times and served as minister during the Congress regime from 2001 to 2004.

On several occasions since 2019, Thomas had indicated that he would quit the party and may even join the BJP. In the assembly elections in 2021 and in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, Thomas had tried to get a party ticket, but had to give way to a new generation.

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