Many more serious concerns than K-Rail Silver Line in Kerala, says Uma Thomas

Kerala will be in deep debt if the project is undertaken. People will be displaced, trees and buildings will be destroyed, points out Uma Thomas, who has just won the Thrikkakara assembly seat

Uma Thomas with children & supporters
Uma Thomas with children & supporters
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Alexander Chandy/ Kochi

What is her stand on Pinarayi government’s semihigh speed K-Rail Silver Line Project? Like Narendra Modi’s Bullet Train, this is after all the Kerala chief minister’s pet project.

Uma Thomas, who just won the Thrikkakara byelection, is ready with her reply.

“I have no objection to the project per se. But this certainly can’t be the state’s priority. What has happened to the extension of metro rail? KSRTC is running at a loss. The employees are not getting their salary. Should the K-Rail still be a priority? Kerala will be in deep debt if the project is undertaken. People will be displaced, trees and buildings will be destroyed. Overall, it will be a sad state of affairs”. There is a lot to do for the people and that should be the priority of the government, she declares.

Still glowing in the aftermath of the election victory, she is convinced it is the turning point for the Congress-led UDF in the state. “This is a victory for the people of Kerala and it is being seen as the beginning of the party’s return to power in the state,” she gushes.

The victory in the Thrikkakara byelection, necessitated by the death of her husband and sitting MLA PT Thomas, has undoubtedly been sweet and so was her convincing victory margin of over 25,000 votes. PT Thomas was a four-time MLA and one-time MP and Congress had never lost the seat. PT Thomas was the working president of KPCC.

The victory, she admits, felt sweeter because the left Democratic Front and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan did everything to win the seat. A battery of Kerala ministers and the organisational might of the LDF worked overtime but left the voters unimpressed. A win would have helped LDF touch the three-figure mark in the 140-member Assembly.

“I am grateful to every single person for making this big win possible. I will continue to work for them as my husband did,” she says. “All work left unfinished by PT will be attended to,” she promises.

The couple were together since their college days in Maharaja’s, Ernakulam where both were student leaders, she knows where and how to begin work. Usha can cash in on that experience as well.


Top on her wish list is the desire for Congress to come back into power in the state. “Looking at the performance of the LDF government, I am sure we are going to be back. We need the support of everyone, every religion has to coexist. And Kerala is a good example where people of all faiths live happily. Unfortunately, while campaigning for this byelection, Pinarayi and his team tried to woo voters on religious lines. But that did not work as the people of this constituency were sensible enough to see through the game plan of LDF”.

A dialysis unit initiated by her late husband will be taken up on a priority basis, she informs. There are a large number of patients who cannot afford the high cost of dialysis. Therefore, he was keen to start a unit where treatment could be given free or at a subsidized rate. Sorting out the drinking water problem, programmes to improve the lot of women and covering most areas in the constituency with security cameras are some of the other schemes on her priority list. “There are houses which get flooded during rains. I must look into that as well,” she reflects.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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