Left leader's remark against Cong nominee triggers row

Left leader's remark against Cong nominee triggers row

Ramya Haridas

The Left-front in Kerala is in a tight spot after a senior party leader made a sexist remark against a woman Congress candidate.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front is planning to initiate legal actions.

Convenor of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front and former Rajya Sabha MP A Vijayaraghavan made the sexist remark against Ramya Haridas, the Congress candidate at Alathur in central Kerala.

Speaking at a LDF election convention in North Kerala on Monday evening, Vijayaraghavan said that as soon as Ramya’s candidature was announced, she went to meet Indian Union Muslim League leaders, including its national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty.

"Ramya had gone to meet Kunhalikutty. I don't know what will happen to her now," Vijayaraghavan said in an awkward tone.

Kunhalikutty has faced charges of sexual harassment, and therefore such a comment had invited strong protests from various quarters.

Ramya said on Tuesday that Vijaraghavan's statement has hurt her and caused insult, and that she will initiate legal action.

Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran, said that the Left-front leader's sexist remark had exposed the lack of sincerity in the Left front's progressive initiatives like women’s wall.

The Congress leaders also said that the Left front rulers were quite frantic after Rahul Gandhi decided to contest from Wayanad.

Meanwhile, Vijayaraghavan said on Tuesday that he had not intentionally made any sexist remark, but only wanted to say that Ramya will be defeated in the election.

Ramya, who hails from an economically weak family, was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi through a talent hunt. Her well-wishers even initiated a fund challenge on social media to meet her campaign expenses and this had drawn a huge response.

Ramya is taking on the CPM's sitting MP P K Biju at Alathur, which is reserved for the Scheduled Caste community.