THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The voters have handed a befitting reply to the Congress leadership for not having given due consideration to women representation while deciding candidates. Not a single woman candidate fielded by the Congress tasted victory this assembly election. The only consolation for the UDF is the victory of RMP leader K K Rema from Vadakara.
Initially, the Congress had given tickets to only nine women. Following a dramatic protest by former Mahila Congress state president Lathika Subhash, who tonsured her head at Indira Bhavan after being denied a ticket, the central leadership decided to bring in Veena S Nair in Vattiyoorkavu as a last minute effort to tide over the crisis. But that did not help appease the voters. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, MP, too came out with an olive branch promising that his next goal is to bring in a woman Congress chief minister. But his words sound hollow.
The other women candidates in the fray were Padmaja Venugopal (Thrissur), Shanimol Osman (Aroor), P K Jayalakshmi (Mananthawady), K A Sheeba (Tarur), Ansajitha Russell (Parassala), Bindu Krishna (Kollam), P R Sona (Vaikom), R Resmi (Kottarakkara) and Aritha Babu (Kayamkulam).Sheeba, who got the Tarur ticket on merit, had taken up the challenge to wrest the CPM bastion represented by Law Minister A K Balan. A former chairperson of Palakkad municipality, she had unsuccessfully contested from the Alathur Lok Sabha seat in 2014.
“The issues resulting from Lathika Subhash’s protest didn’t affect my prospects. But my hard work alone wasn’t enough as the party machinery is weak in Tarur, where booth committees were ineffective. I performed well, but the lack of support on the ground proved crucial. The invisible undercurrents also stood in the way of UDF’s victory,” Sheeba told TNIE.
However, Rema -- who won by over 7,000 votes in Vadakara - felt that the Lathika Subhash issue has definitely affected the prospects of UDF’s women candidates. All political parties should ensure that such instances are never repeated, she said. “The tonsure incident had sure sent ripples among the voters. The Congress should not have allowed such an incident to happen. Now, all other political parties too have to remain vigilant to ensure adequate representation for women,” Rema said.