The Congress on Saturday released a fourth list of 27 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, with the party denying a ticket to former Union minister K V Thomas.
The party announced candidates for 12 out of the 20 seats in Kerala, with Thomas, a former food minister and five-time MP, not making the cut. In his place, it has fielded Hibi Eden from the Ernakulam seat in central Kerala – Eden, a former NSUI president, is the son of the late Congress leader George Eden.
Thomas said he was shocked and pained at being denied a ticket. He said he is upset that he was not even informed about the party’s decision to deny him a ticket. “I had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with Mukul Wasnik (AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala) and many other senior leaders yesterday…. None of them told me and that is more saddening,” he said. FOR MORE ELECTIONS NEWS CLICK HERE
“I don’t know what mistake I have done…it is not my mistake that I am 72 years old. It is not my mistake that I have won seven times…I am not part of any faction….” he said.
When asked whether he would join the BJP, Thomas was not forthcoming but crucially, did not rule it out. He said he will take a decision after thinking it through. “I have not decided anything. This is not the time. I have not thought about it,” he said when asked whether he would join the BJP.
He, however, said he will be in active politics and with the people and their development activities.
Sources said the Congress high command has reached out to Thomas to placate him. They said he could meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Sunday.
Apart from Thomas, two other sitting MPs from Kerala – state Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal – opted out. Another MP – M I Shanavas – died in November 2018.
The remaining four Congress MPs in Kerala have been renominated: Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), Anto Antony (Pathanamtitta), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara), and M K Raghavan (Kozhikode).
There is still no unanimity on the candidates to be fielded in Alappuzha and Vadakara seats, which were represented by Venugopal and Ramachandran, as well as in Wayanad and Attingal constituencies.
Among the other announcements, former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki has been fielded from Arunachal West seat.
The Congress also announced six candidates in Uttar Pradesh: for Kairana, Bijnor, Meerut, Ghosi, Gautam Budh Nagar, Aligarh, and Hamirpur.