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regular-article-logo Sunday, 25 February 2024

Kerala: CPM national congress creates rift in Congress

K. Sudhakaran had threatened to sack former Union minister K.V. Thomas if he attended the party event

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 08.04.22, 02:03 AM
K. Sudhakaran.

K. Sudhakaran. File photo

The CPM national congress underway in Kannur has created a rift in the Congress party as former Union minister K.V. Thomas on Thursday decided to participate in a seminar on Centre-state relations at the event defying a party diktat.

Kerala Congress president K. Sudhakaran had threatened to sack Thomas if he attended the CPM event. Thomas, however, told a news conference in Kochi that he would participate in the seminar on April 9 since the topic was of immense importance in the current political climate when federalism was under threat.

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While Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor had also been invited to speak about the challenges faced by secularism, he decided to toe the party orders.

Thomas is listed as one of the three participants in the seminar along with chief ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Pinarayi Vijayan and M.K. Stalin, respectively.

Thomas dared Sudhakaran to sack him. “I am an AICC member and only the AICC can remove me. Should I say anything more about those who don’t even understand that?”

Sudhakaran said he would recommend disciplinary action against Thomas.

“We will submit a report to the AICC and then seek its suggestion on how to proceed. I will have to consult the high command on what to do next.”

An influential leader from the Latin Catholic community, sources said Thomas has some support from disgruntled elements in the party.

The CPM’s invitation to Thomas and Tharoor has been a contentious matter in the Congress. While both of them had initially decided to toe the party line and not attend the seminar, Thomas changed his position following open threats from Sudhakaran to sack anyone who dared to disobey the party.

The party veteran questioned Sudhakaran’s threats and said he had never disobeyed the party.

“Is it correct to use such threats if I participated in the seminar? I have always been a loyal party worker who worked up the ranks…. Now they say I will be sacked if I go to Kannur (for the seminar).”

He reminded the Congress leadership that the CPM congress is a national event and he was going to attend only a seminar and not the party event.

“What is happening in Kannur is the national congress of CPM. I am not going to the national Congress, but the seminar,” he noted, differing with the party line that no one is allowed to attend a CPM event.

He questioned the rationale of the stiff opposition against allowing him to the seminar when the UPA 1 government headed by Manmohan Singh was propped up by the Left parties, including the CPM.

“It was Brinda Karat and Annie Raja who helped pass the food security bill when I moved it in Parliament,” he recalled.

Thomas pointed out the truck between the CPM and Congress in almost all states, except Kerala where the two parties helm rival alliances.

“The recent state elections have not been favourable to the Congress and we are working with the CPM in all other states, except Kerala,” he said highlighting the need for Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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