THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Opposition leader V D Satheesan was an office-bearer of the KSU Ernakulam district unit, Puthiyaparambil Thomas Thomas was the state president of the students’ union. In 1980, at the age of 29, PT became the Youth Congress state general secretary. In retrospect, PT’s growth in political career was not in proportion to the pace with which he climbed the leadership ladder as a student and youth leader.
Though he was a four-time MLA, PT had never been a minister. He was an MP when the UPA came to power the second time at the Centre and Kerala had the most representation in the cabinet. However, PT’s was never there in the names doing rounds whenever there was a cabinet reshuffle. A few months ago, he was among the probable candidates for the Congress state president’s post. When K Sudhakaran was chosen for the post, PT was tipped to be the UDF convener. However, that also didn’t materialise and PT had to be content with the post of working president.
His close friends recall that losing plum posts between the cup and the lip had never bothered him. He was convinced that his commitment to the ideologies and strong stance for protecting the environment were the reasons for several last-minute exclusions. PT always stood firm by his convictions. He was of a rare breed of upright politicians in a land of opportunists.
The denial of his sitting Idukki MP seat in 2014 had pained him and he drifted away from his leader, Oommen Chandy, but he was convinced that his belief in the Gadgil committee recommendations to save the Western Ghats would be proved correct some day and it did.
Within the party too, PT never hesitated to say the truth to anyone’s face. From legendary leader K Karunakaran to the new leaders of the party, almost everyone had tasted the sharpness of PT’s tongue. After the debacle in the 2021 assembly elections, PT urged the leadership to take corrective measures to revive the party. He welcomed the new leadership wholeheartedly and was confident that a revival of Congress was possible.
Senior Congress leader K V Thomas who shared an excellent camaraderie with PT for more than five decades recalled that right from his KSU days, he was in the forefront of all fights. “Long back in Mattanchery, there was a game played by youngsters. One would juggle two soda bottles simultaneously with both hands and throw them up at the same time so that they collide and get broken. PT was a champion in this and this daredevilry stayed with him throughout his life,” said Thomas.
He also recalled the rebellious love affair PT had with Uma, an orthodox Brahmin girl who was a student of St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, then. The Congress has cancelled all its party programmes for the next three days including that of Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s in Wayanad as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Known for his tenacity to attack opponents
Kochi: P T Thomas, or PT as he was called, had the uncanny ability to launch a powerful attack on his political opponents. Be it that phone tapping issue or the political interference in actor assault case, PT was instrumental in bringing these cases to the fore. PT was fierce in his criticism of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, especially the handling of the home department. It was Thomas who publicly alleged a sabotage attempt in the actor abduction case. In fact, his timely intervention led to police registering a proper case, which otherwise would have swept under the carpet.