KOCHI: Since the state’s formation in 1956, the Congress has managed to send only one woman MP to the Lok Sabha. Savithri Lakshmanan, who represented the erstwhile Mukundapuram LS constituency from 1989 -1996, was the lucky one.
As the party gears up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, women Congress workers have high hopes of increased representation in the party’s seat allocation. Though there are the usual talks before every polls on giving more representation to women, this time the women party workers feel that their chances are particularly bright and there are several factors which brighten the prospects.
Last time, only two women - Bindu Krishna and K A Sheeba - were fielded by the party from the Attingal and Alathur (Reserved) seats respectively. Both of them, however, lost to their CPM rivals. Soon after the polls got over, the KPCC was inundated with complaints that the seats had been allotted to the two candidates without factoring in their winnability.
Mahila Congress state president Lathika Subhash is confident this time around one or more women leaders will be in the fray from the safe seats. “We are pretty hopeful the women leaders will get adequate representation this time. KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran has already taken the initiative in this regard. Moreover, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has a clear vision on women’s representation and he is quite keen on accommodating women leaders in top party posts,” Lathika said.
Though the KPCC is yet to draw up the list of probable candidates, the fact that the Congress candidates bit dust in eight LS seats in the 2014 Parliament polls has given considerable hope to the women party workers that they will indeed get increased representation in seat allocation this time round. The Wayanad LS seat represented by M A Shanawaz, who passed away recently, could well see the Congress opting for a woman candidate in the coming LS polls.
Moreover, women leaders have high winning prospects in the sitting seats too. Former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman, KPCC general secretary Padmaja Venugopal, Lathika Subhash, Kollam DCC president Bindu Krishna, coordinator of AICC data analytics department Swapna Patronis, and AICC member Deepthi Mary Varghese are the prominent names doing the rounds.
Compared to the ruling CPM, which sent five women leaders to the LS from Kerala, the Congress has little to write home about on this front. In 2004, the CPM’s P Sathidevi and C S Sujatha won from Vadakara and Alappuzha, respectively. Suseela Gopalan and A K Premajam too served multiple terms as CPM Lok Sabha MPs.
“We have requested the AICC to allot seats to women considering the winnability factor. Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi gives equal prominence to senior and junior-level leaders and accommodates fresh faces. Hence, we are hopeful of a major change happening this time,” said Shanimol Usman.
Lathika said the party has started a mission to groom politically committed women leaders. As part of this, the posts of vice-presidents in around 24,000 booth committees were allotted to women.
Though there are the usual talks before every polls on giving more representation to women, the women workers of the party hold the view that their chances are particularly bright this time around.
The KPCC is yet to draw up the list of probable candidates. But, the fact that the Congress candidates bit dust in eight LS seats in the 2014 parliament polls has given considerable hope to the women party workers