Three women are contesting for different causes in Kerala Assembly polls

More than winning elections, their priority seems to be projecting their cause
Last Updated 28 March 2021, 09:52 IST

As a high voltage campaign is on in Kerala for the April 6 Assembly polls, the fight of three women candidates is drawing attention for reasons beyond politics in the state.

Their campaigns may not be as loud and vocal as others but their candidature itself is sparking debate and discussion among the public.

Three women - former Congress leader and Mahila Congress chief Lathika Subhash, mother of Walayar sisters and K K Rema, the widow of slain RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan - are contesting in the election symbolising three causes.

More than winning elections, their priority seems to be projecting their cause - male dominance in political parties, murderous politics and speedy justice for abused daughters.

If Lathika, who recently shocked everyone by tonsuring her head protesting against being denied assembly ticket, has plunged into poll fray to protest the male dominance and unfair treatment towards women in her party, K K Rema, through her candidature, wants to keep live her fight against the alleged murderous politics by the ruling CPI(M).

Rema, who is now a leader of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) after Chandrasekharan's death, believes that some of the leaders and workers of the Marxist party were behind the murder of her husband who had suffered 51 hack injuries on his body.

While Lathika is seeking her electoral luck in Ettumanur, her hometownin Kottayam district as an independent candidate, Rema is contesting from Vadakara constituency in Kozhikode with the support of Congress-led UDF.

The mother of the Walayar girls wants justice for her daughters, who were found hanging in their hut in Palakkad district under suspicious circumstances in 2017.

Her repeated requests to take action against police personnel, who had allegedly committed lapses in the probe into their death, had prompted the woman, an ordinary homemaker so far, to contest elections.

Her decision to take on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Dharmadam constituency has brought back to the public consciousness the horrendous memories of the pain and sufferings underwent by the little Dalit siblings.

Lathitka, who is now busy campaigning in the constituency, said she is thoroughly confident about her victory.

"The voters in the constituency are considering me as one among them. The overall response is very positive," she said.

The 56-year old leader also felt that she had been denied a ticket as she was a woman.

If the students' union president and youth congress chief could get tickets, why the Mahila Congress head had been denied a seat, an emotional Lathika asked.

Besides Congress-UDF candidate Prince Luckose, CPI(M) nominee N Vasavan and NDA's N Sreenivasan were her main opponentsin Ettumanur.

Rema, who had unsuccessfully contested from Vadakara in the 2016 Assembly polls, was initially hesitant to contest this time.

But, she later changed her decision and entered the poll fray following the pressure from her own party and from the Congress-UDF who see her as a strong choice against the CPI(M) in the segment, a traditional Left bastion.

The UDF, which announced their support to her in the April 6 polls, also calculated that through her candidature, the brutal murder of T P Chandrasekharan, a CPI(M) dissident, can be brought back to the memory of voters again.

Once a strong follower and now an arch critic of the CPI(M) and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Rema had shocked the Left camp by garnering over 20,000 votes during her maiden fight in 2016.

"My fight is against the brutal murders carried out in the name of politics," the 51 year-old woman said and expressed confidence about her victory.

LDF nominee Manayath Chandran and NDA's M Rajesh Kumar are her main opponents in the April 6 polls.

A CPI(M) rebel who created a parallel Left outfit called RMP in his home turf Onchiyam in north Kerala, Chandrasekharan was hacked to death in May 2012.

Several of the accused in the case were local CPI(M) workers, besides goons hired to execute the murder.

In 2014, a special court had sentenced 11 people, three of them local CPI(M) functionaries, to life imprisonment.

The mother of Walayar sisters, who has been on a warpath demanding action against police personnel, had recently tonsured her head as a mark of protest and carried out a state-wide rally seeking justice to her daughters.

She said her candidature against the Chief Minister was also a protest against the alleged denial of justice by the Left government.

"My priority is not success or failure in the elections. My daughters should get justice. All the accused should be punished. I hope the society will stand up with me in my fight," the mother of the girls added.

Kerala Assembly Election Result 2016

Three women are contesting for different causes in Kerala Assembly polls
(Published 28 March 2021, 09:45 IST)

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