Hibi Eden from Ernakulam
The decision of the Congress to field Hibi Eden, MLA, for the Enakulam Lok Sabha seat has left sitting MP and veteran Congress leader K.V. Thomas “shocked and pained”, in his own words.
“I don’t know what wrong I’ve done. Whatever duty that the party has given me from time to time has been carried out by me in right earnest. So, this has saddened me beyond words. But I am not part of any ‘group’ [faction] within the party. You will know on what basis the seats have been allotted when you get to see the names,” Prof. Thomas told the media in Delhi late Saturday evening.
He said while he had parleys with several senior party leaders over the past few days, none had told him about the decision to exclude him from the list of candidates.
Reiterating his contributions as a member of the Union Cabinet and as a parliamentarian, he said he had been close to the Gandhi family and remained indebted to Sonia Gandhi for the opportunities given to him.
“But if the party doesn’t want my service any longer, I know how to do social service. I will continue to be active in nation-building, as I am healthy and active,” he said.
No overtures from BJP
Prof. Thomas evaded a question on whether he would stay in the Congress by saying he would remain active in the social and political sphere. To another question, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party had not approached him.
Moments later, Mr. Eden hailed the contributions of Prof. Thomas to the party and the constituency. “As a senior leader, he will be there as part of my poll campaign,” Mr. Eden said, adding that the fight in Ernakulam would be over political issues. He also said the party would probably be looking at giving an even more responsible duty to Prof. Thomas.