Election campaigns through social media are nothing new anymore. But Kerala is witnessing a campaign of a different sort, a fund challenge for a Congress candidate’s election expenditure.
Ramya Haridas, Congress candidates at Alathur in central Kerala, hails from an economically weak background.
She was handpicked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi through a talent hunt. But money is an integral part of elections, and this is what Ramya lacks.
One of her well-wishers, John Samuel, a former official of the United Nations Development Programme, initiated the fund challenge for Ramya, which is drawing a huge response.
Samuel, popularly known as J S Adoor, initiated the fund challenge on social media by contributing Rs 25,000 to Ramya's election fund on March 20.
"I was surprised as over 1,000 persons responded positively through social media and personally within hours. So far, about 1,500 persons committed to contribute assistance ranging from Rs. 500 to 20,000, taking the total to around three to four lakh rupees. It even included many noted personalities," Samuel told DH.
Once Ramya opened her dedicated account for election funds, the amount would be pooled to that account.
Samuel said it was a spur of the moment decision to initiate the challenge and it had no political intentions.
"I knew Ramya since 2007 and was quite impressed by her dedicated work from the grassroots level. When she became a candidate, Ramya sought my support. She did not have the channels to pool funds for the campaign. Hence, I offered Rs 25,000 to express my solidarity and initiated the challenge," he said.
32-year-old Ramya, who hails from a Dalit family at Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode district, is contesting against sitting MP P K Biju of the CPM at Alathur constituency, which is reserved for the Scheduled Caste community. Ramya is the president of Kunnamangalam block panchayat.
Meanwhile, Ramya's election campaign has already attracted a lot of attention as she sings during her campaign meetings.
CPM supporter and college lecturer Deepa Nishanth mocked Ramya on social media saying election campaigns are not reality shows to highlight the plights of candidate and sing.
The Congress MLAs countered this by referring to a recent controversy, where Deepa, a poet, was found to have plagiarised another man's poem.
The Congress also lodged a complaint against Deepa alleging that she insulted the candidate.