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Kerala:

Leaving everyone surprised, Congress leader Tom Vadakkan joins BJP, saying he was hurt when party questioned the integrity of Indian soldiers in the recent Pulwama attack. He was considered as a close associate to the UPA chairperson and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Since the upcoming national elections are set to be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, Vadakkan’s sudden move would cause far-reaching effects in Congress. He also said the Congress’ reaction to attacks carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists was sad while asserting that he believed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development narrative. His joining was in the presence of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

β€œIt hurt me deeply when you question the integrity of the armed forces. The matter is not of ideology, this is about patriotism. If a political party takes a position against the country, I had no option but to leave the party,” Vadakkan said. “I am offering BJP unconditional support in the upcoming parliament election. Party can decide if I should contest to parliament”, he added.

Addressing the media, he also said Modi congratulated him and wished him well. β€œI have worked for the Congress for 20 years. But dynastic politics has reached the zenith. A use-and-throw style has started in Congress,” he said.

BJP state President Sreedharan Pillai reacted that Tom Vadakkan would be accommodated in the party. But, he was unwilling to comment if Vadakkan would be contesting in the elections.

“Fielding him in the elections is something I won’t discuss now. I don’t think he has joined the party expecting a seat in the election, but it is in protest against the Congress’ stand on the Pulwama attack. The BJP will have many gains in the state,” Sreedharan Pillai told media.

A native of Thrissur, Vadakkan joined the Congress in the late 1980s, quitting a corporate job to become a media consultant for Rajiv Gandhi. In the 2009 elections, though he was a proposed candidate from Thrissur he was not given a ticket owing to a protest mainly from the Congress. Anyhow, his unexpected quit has made Congress in trouble.

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