Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress has lost a warrior with the death of Thrikkakara MLA P T Thomas who passed away at Vellore Christian Medical College on Wednesday morning. The 71-year-old P T was a fighter who was especially known for his strong stand on environmental conservation.
When politicians are known for their wavering positions, P T was an exception. Many a time he had to fight within the ‘A’ group, but at the end of the day he would stand with his head held high.
After the poll debacle of the Congress in the 2021 Assembly elections, P T had urged the leadership to take corrective measures to revive the party. He became closer to the official leadership which saw him emerging as one of the three state Congress working presidents. P T had to face stiff opposition from the Catholic Church for supporting the Madhav Gadgil committee report on the Western Ghats. Later, when the 2018 floods ravaged the state, he stood vindicated.
He had represented the Thodupuzha Assembly elections in 1991 and 2001, but later he switched to the Thrikkakara seat in 2016 and 2021. In 2009, he represented Idukki in the Lok Sabha. But his strong stand in favour of the Madhav Gadgil report saw him being denied the Idukki ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He was very upset about this and his equations with his group leader Oommen Chandy were affected.
But the latter ensured that P T contested from the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency after the then state Congress president V M Sudheeran vehemently objected to sitting Thrikkakara MLA Benny Behanan contesting from there. Oommen Chandy’s decision turned out to be good as yet again the Kerala Legislative Assembly witnessed P T pulling up the LDF government on several issues. In fact, Sudheeran had even recommended P T’s name for the post of the state Congress president.
Even though P T was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer for the last one month at Vellore CMC, his family and Congress leadership had hoped that he would make a recovery soon. Over the last few days, a plethora of senior leaders including Opposition Leader V D Satheesan, UDF convener M M Hassan, MLAs Ramesh Chennithala and K Babu visited him at the hospital. There were efforts to take him to the US for better treatment following the directive of the Congress High Command, but it was too late as the cancer had spread to his spine by then.
He is the second state Congress working president to die in office after M I Shanavas. The Congress has cancelled all its party programmes for the next three days as a mark of respect to the departed leader. Former Congress president and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s programmes scheduled in his constituency and Kozhikode district were also cancelled.