KOCHI: In a big jolt to the NDA in Kerala, the Kerala Congress (P C Thomas faction) has decided to leave the front and is all set to join the Congress-led UDF.
Thomas, son of the first Opposition leader of Kerala P T Chacko, who was an all-weather friend of the NDA in Kerala, told The New Indian Express that a state executive meeting of the party, scheduled to be held on Sunday, will take a final call on joining the UDF.
"The BJP failed to address the issues raised by us which has led to discontent among the rank and file of our party," PC Thomas told The New Indian Express.
"We had demanded 16 posts including membership in various boards and the chairman post of the Rubber Board. Rubber farmers form our support base and we have to address their needs. Though former BJP President Amit Shah had assured us six posts including Rubber Board chairmanship in 2018, the party failed to keep the promise which has hurt the sentiments of our party leaders," he said.
According to Thomas, the party will not merge with the Joseph faction but will consider joining the UDF as a separate party.
P C Thomas, who was one of the most prominent leaders of the Kerala Congress (M), had represented Muvattupuzha constituency in the Lok Sabha for six terms from 1989 to 2009. He had served as the Union Minister of state for law and Justice from 2003 to 2004.
The NDA registered its maiden electoral victory in Kerala as P C Thomas was elected from Muvattupuzha to the Lok Sabha in 2004. Considered a good strategist, the decision of Thomas to leave the front is a big setback for the BJP in Kerala.
With just seven months left for the Kerala Assembly polls, the state is witnessing a realignment of the Kerala Congress parties. Days after the Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress Mani faction decided to join the ruling LDF, the decision of P C Thomas to join the UDF came as a big relief to the Congress-led front in Kerala.
Thomas, who carries the legacy of P T Chacko, a prominent Congress leader in the 1950s, is an influential leader in the Muvattupuzha belt and the Congress believes he will make up for the loss of the Jose K Mani faction in central Kerala.
Kerala Congress, the party with a long history of splits and mergers still holds sway in central Kerala and it enjoys the support of the powerful Catholic community. As the late K M Mani said, "It is a party that grows through splits and splits as it grows."
There are eight splinter groups of the party. With the arrival of P C Thomas, there will be three Kerala Congress parties in the UDF, namely KC - P J Joseph faction, P C Thomas faction and T M Jacob faction.
Meanwhile, there are four KC factions in the LDF - Democratic KC, Pillai faction, Scaria Thomas faction and Jose K Mani faction. The Kerala Congress Secular, led by Poonjar MLA P C George is now standing independent and may join the UDF soon.