KOTTAYAM: The Kerala Congress Joseph group, an ally of the UDF, merged with PC Thomas's Kerala Congress, which was an ally of the NDA, on Wednesday. Following the merger, P C Thomas, who served as Union minister of state for law and justice in the A B Vajpayee ministry in 2003, quit the NDA to join the UDF as its ally. P J Joseph will be the chairman of the new party and P C Thomas will serve as working chairman.
The merger will be announced at a meeting scheduled to be held at Kaduthuruthy in Kottayam district on Wednesday evening. The decision to leave the NDA was taken in a late night meeting on Tuesday. The Kerala Congress Joseph faction, which was desperate to get a common symbol, decided to merge with P C Thomas’ Kerala Congress which is a registered party. This will make the party eligible to get a common symbol.
The Supreme Court had upheld the Election Commission decision to allot the two leaves symbol to the Kerala Congress Jose K Mani faction. The Joseph faction, which is an ally of the Congress-led UDF, is contesting from 10 seats.
PC Thomas had represented Muvattupuzha Lok Sabha constituency for six terms from 1989 to 2009. He represented the Kerala Congress Mani group, an ally of the UDF for five terms. In 2004, he got elected to the Lok Sabha as an NDA candidate and was the only person from the NDA fold to get elected to the Lok Sabha from Kerala. Thomas said he was forced to leave the NDA as the BJP did not offer a single
seat to the party this time. The party had contested from four seats in 2016.