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K V Thomas interview: ‘Sonia and Rahul meet the same leaders day after day… Only venue has shifted from Delhi to Udaipur’

The Congress on Thursday sacked veteran leader and former Union minister Ok V Thomas from the occasion, hours after he attended a CPI(M) election conference in Ernakulam district’s Thrikkakara constituency the place a by-poll is scheduled to be held on May 31. Thomas, a five-time MP, had been at loggerheads with the occasion for over a month. In April, he was faraway from the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee’s (KPCC) political affairs committee and government committee after he attended the CPI(M) occasion Congress in Kannur. The 76-year-old chief, who was a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), in an interview with The Indian Express speaks about his elimination from the occasion, its ongoing “Chintan Shivir” in Udaipur, the CPI(M), and his plans.


The Congress sacked you from the occasion on the eve of the ‘Chintan Shivir’…

The ‘Chintan Shivir’ is just a gathering of some leaders and their loyalists or shut associates. Those who usually meet on the AICC headquarters in Delhi have shifted their venue to Udaipur. That is all there may be to this ‘Chintan Shivir’. What are the standards for choosing delegates or leaders for this brainstorming session? There is not any democracy within the Congress. Several senior leaders have been dropped from the occasion. From Kerala, senior leaders P J Kurian, V M Sudheeran and Pandalam Sudhakaran haven’t figured within the record. It is completely undemocratic.

Did you latterly make solutions to revive the occasion?

The management has not mentioned any occasion matter with me. The occasion has no hyperlinks with staff. How many leaders have entry to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi? They (Sonia and Rahul) meet the identical leaders who’re all the time with them, day after day. It was not like that previously. These leaders ought to be keen to face among the many staff no less than for a minute to get the heartbeat of the individuals. The occasion is neglecting anybody who calls for corrective measures. Many senior leaders on the nationwide stage have been sidelined for demanding corrective measures. I’ve not met Rahul since 2018. Recently, I requested AICC normal secretary Ok C Venugopal that I wish to communicate to Rahul as a result of I wished to clear misunderstandings if any. But nothing occurred.

At the CPI(M) conference on Thursday, you attacked Congress for its ‘soft Hindutva’.

The Congress’s soft-Hindutva line is a severe difficulty that I’ve raised a number of instances at occasion boards prior to now. Soft Hindutva is not going to assist the occasion. We ought to take a powerful stand in opposition to Hindutva. The occasion shouldn’t waver. The motion in opposition to leaders like me has created an impression within the rank and file that the Congress is now in opposition to minority leaders within the occasion. People say so. I belong to the fishermen (Latin Catholic) coastal group in Kerala. Recently, Congress state president Ok Sudhakaran insulted me by making infra-dig feedback about my background.

Even after the disciplinary motion, you’re claiming you’re with the Congress.

Being with the Congress isn’t just about that Rs 5 membership. The Congress is a ardour in addition to a tradition for me. I understand how to carry on to Congress sentiments. I’ve a whole lot of social work to do. When the Ok-Rail undertaking emerged, I demanded that the occasion shouldn’t oppose it blindly. The management wished to object because it was proposed by (Kerala Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan. This just isn’t the primary time I’m backing a improvement undertaking. I performed a essential position in getting the Vizhinjam seaport undertaking and the Kochi Metro for Kerala.

Is concern in regards to the state’s improvement a pretext to get nearer to the CPI(M)?

It was the Congress that stored me away over time. In 2018, there was an try and sack me from the occasion. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, I used to be denied a seat. Then, I requested for a celebration submit, however they didn’t give. During the Assembly elections, I used to be once more denied a seat. They weren’t even able to allot a seat that the Congress had misplaced. I used to be made state working president however allowed to proceed within the submit for under 4 months. At any price, the leaders wished to neglect me. Even Rahul Gandhi developed chilly toes in direction of me. National and state-level leaders are working to maintain me away from the occasion. I don’t wish to identify any of them.

How are you going to affiliate with the CPI(M), significantly within the coming by-election?

I’ve no plan to affix any occasion, I’ve an extended custom of social work. I will likely be among the many individuals with interventions for improvement. Active political life isn’t just about holding flags and elevating slogans. The individuals of the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency will determine the fallout of my dismissal from the Congress. Let the individuals determine.

Congress leaders say you must make means for others…

Why is that norm utilized to Ok V Thomas alone? If superior age is the standards, why do Oommen Chandy, Ok Sudhakaran et al contest elections and proceed in parliamentary politics? Opposition chief V D Satheesan has contested the final 5 elections. Will he steer clear of the following Assembly elections? Will Ramesh Chennithala stop electoral politics? A Ok Antony, who occupied a key submit (Kerala CM) on the age of 36, has retired solely not too long ago (at 81 years outdated). What is the logic behind saying solely Thomas ought to make means for the brand new era? Why aren’t others prepared for that?

The occasion claims your exit is not going to make any influence.

They stated they’d a survey performed on my influence. Let them discover consolation in such surveys. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AICC did a survey. The occasion did one other survey in Kerala earlier than the Assembly elections in 2021. Even the CM and his private workers had been mounted primarily based on the survey end result. We know what occurred after each surveys. Why did the occasion take motion in opposition to me if I’m a nonentity? They may have left me alone and uncared for me.

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