"I will be meeting all of you tomorrow (Friday) to explain this," said Thomas when reports of his candidature were being discussed by the CPI-M at their meeting being held here on Thursday.

Thomas is known to maintain close relationship with Defence Minister AK Antony and newly appointed Congress state unit president VM Sudheeran and hence it has come as a total surprise to many.

In the past he was the Congress Pathanamthitta district chief for a few years and had contested elections to the Kerala assembly unsuccessfully on a few occasions.

"This is no surprise to me because for a few weeks this was in the air. Thomas's family has close relations with a former Lok Sabha member and a CPI-M fellow traveler and the first round of talks for this took place.” a senior party leader from Pathanamthitta said

“The deal for his switching sides was finalised by a senior CPI-M leader who clinched the deal," he added.

The CPI-M on Wednesday had taken the decision to field popular comedian and character artiste Innocent from Chalakudy and also former Gujarat IAS officer and former secretary to then President Prathiba Patil.

(Agencies)

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