Former Kerala Congress leader Vijayan Thomas joins BJP

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (PTI) Former Kerala Congress leader Vijayan Thomas, who was a general secretary in the party, joined the BJP here on Friday. The BJP has been looking to make inroads among the Christian voters in the southern state. It may field Thomas, who hails from the minority community which has a sizeable presence there, in the assembly polls.

Elections in the state are scheduled to be held on April 6.

Thomas took a swipe at his former party, claiming that it does not have a regional-party presence in many parts of the country and that its leadership does not know what is happening.

Echoing the views of P C Chacko, another Kerala Congress leader who quit the party recently, that the party is divided into two factions in the state, he said a lot of its senior leaders may leave soon. Inducting him into the BJP, its general secretary Arun Singh said Thomas is influenced by the policy and programmes of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. Thomas had earlier quit the Congress apparently over denial of a party ticket to fight the assembly polls. He, however, rejected the view and said it had become very difficult for a 'principled' person like him to continue in the party.

There had been a buzz about Thomas joining the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well. Speaking at Thomas's joining ceremony, BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan took a dig at Congres leader Rahul Gandhi, saying he is 'responsible' for opening the floodgates in the party for its leaders to leave. In Kerala, where the fight is primarily being seen as between the ruling Left front (LDF) and the Congress-led UDF, the BJP has been working hard to emerge as a strong force. PTI KR NSD NSD