Kerala woman sweeper becomes panchayat president

From sweeper to panchayat president, democracy changes the life of another Kerala woman

Anandavalli, fondly known as 'Valli Chechi', was opted by the LDF as panchayat president considering her popularity and acceptance among people

Credit: Special Arrangement

In yet another instance of democracy changing the lives of people overnight, a woman who has been serving as a part-time sweeper at a panchayat has become the president of the same panchayat.

Anandavalli A has taken over as president of the Pathanapuram block panchayat on the suburbs of Kollam district in South Kerala on Wednesday. She had been working as a part-time sweeper at the panchayat office as well as other offices attached to the block since 2011.

Anandavalli, fondly known as 'Valli Chechi', was opted by the Left Democratic Front as panchayat president considering her popularity and acceptance among the people.

She contested from Thalavoor ward, which was reserved for Scheduled Caste general members, and won with a clear majority of around 650 votes. In the 13 member panchayat, left front won seven seats and Congress-led United Democratic Front won the remaining six.

The panchayat president post was reserved for SC woman and apart from Anandavalli, another left-front woman member was also from the SC community. But CPM opted Anandavalli, which is learnt to be in consideration of her general acceptance.

Anandavalli's husband, who is a painting worker, has been an active CPM worker and the couple have two children.

The elevation of a part-time sweeper to panchayat president post came close on the heels of a 21-year old college girl, Arya Rajendran, becoming Thiruvananthapuram mayor and hitting headlines by becoming the youngest mayor in the country.