Congress leader KV Thomas on Friday said that the party had not formally told him about his sacking, PTI reported. Thomas was expelled from the Congress on Thursday for allegedly defying party orders.

“There is a system to expel a leader from the party,” Thomas said. “The decision should be taken by the All Indian Congress Committee [AICC]. I am still a member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee and AICC. It [the claim of expulsion] is just a joke.”

Congress has lost its vigour and importance at the national level as some leaders have been behaving like they are the party itself, he added.

On Thursday, the party expelled Thomas hours after he met Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss Kochi bye-polls, NDTV reported. Congress is the Opposition party in Kerala.

All Indian Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal said the leadership “was forced to take the extreme step as Thomas continued to violate the party discipline even after the action was taken against him,” PTI reported. Thomas had “joined hands” with the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) when Congress is going through a tough phase, he added.

However, Thomas has said that he would not join the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Congress was happy with the decision to expel Thomas, said Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly VD Satheesan. “Not just the Congress workers but the activists of the Marxist party were also seeing KV Thomas with contempt and disdain,” he said.

On April 26, a disciplinary action committee of the Congress had recommended removing Thomas from all party posts.

The development came two weeks after the committee had issued a show-cause notice to Thomas for going against the party. Thomas had attended a Communist Party of India (Marxist) seminar in Kerala’s Kannur district by going against a directive issued by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.