Former Indian athlete Padmini Thomas leaves Congress, joins BJP

Former Indian athlete Padmini Thomas and ex-District Congress Committee general secretary Thampanoor Satheesh join BJP, citing dissatisfaction with Congress leadership.
Padmini Thomas
Padmini Thomas

Thiruvananthapuram |Former Indian athlete Padmini Thomas and ex-District Congress Committee general secretary Thampanoor Satheesh on Thursday left the Congress and joined the BJP.

The move comes a day after the BJP's state chief, K Surendran, announced that more Congress members would be joining the saffron party.

The development also comes a week after Padmaja Venugopal, daughter of former Chief Minister and Congress leader Karunakaran, had joined the BJP.

Thomas, who won a silver and a bronze medal in the 1982 Asian Games, said that she decided to leave the grand old party as she was fed up with it.

She alleged that she suffered a lot emotionally and mentally which triggered her decision to join the BJP.

"I have not joined the BJP for any positions. I was happy and impressed with the Modi government as it gave priority and reservation to women," Thomas, an Arjuna Awardee, told reporters here after joining the saffron party.

Satheesh alleged that the downfall of the Congress in Kerala began after the death of party stalwart K Karunakaran.

He said that some Congress leaders were of the view that the party would not be affected by those leaving it.

"I would like to tell them that this is only the beginning. Soon, Congress workers from all 14 districts of the state will flow to the BJP," he claimed.

The reason he cited for this was the alleged neglect shown by the grand old party towards its workers.

"Whenever the UDF comes to power, the Congress leaders are inside and the workers are sidelined. The leaders have never tried to ensure jobs or employment for the workers.

"They never even bothered to find out how they were living. This time around, the BJP will have a good showing in the elections from Kerala," Satheesh contended.

Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan claimed that no one of any importance has left the Congress to join the BJP.

He also claimed that BJP members have been joining the Congress in Haryana and Rajasthan and in Telangana, all the sitting MPs of the saffron party have expressed their intention to join the grand old party.

Satheesan alleged that it was the ruling CPI(M) in the state which was using certain intermediaries to woo Congress leaders away from the party and make them join the BJP.

"The CPI(M) is trying to create a space for the BJP in Kerala where it does not have any," the opposition leader alleged.

Surendran on Wednesday had said that members of not just the Congress, but the ruling LDF in the state would also be joining the saffron party in the coming days.

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