THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With just three weeks left for the polls, the Left has found itself in a spot after the UDF unleashed a major campaign against A Vijayaraghavan’s remarks on Remya Haridas.
The alleged sleazy comment made by LDF convenor A Vijayaraghavan against UDF candidate in Alathur constituency Remya Haridas has triggered a storm in the political and cultural sphere of the state, causing a severe dent to the image of the ruling dispensation.
Vijayaraghavan, while addressing an election convention at Ponnani had said: “She had visited IUML leader Kunhalikutty after her candidature was announced. I don’t know what will happen to her now.”
The indirect reference to the ice cream parlour sex scandal in which Kunhalikutty faced allegations has spurred angry reaction from the Opposition UDF and women activists in the state. Hailing from a Scheduled Caste community, Remya Haridas was handpicked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi through a talent hunt. Daughter of daily wage labourers PP Haridas and Radha, Remya holds a bachelor’s degree in classical music. She has been using her talents to the hilt to win the hearts of voters.
Remya has filed a complaint with the Alathur DySP seeking action against Vijayaraghavan. Earlier, author Deepa Nishanth had launched a scathing attack on Remya for using her singing talent to woo the voters. “The real issue should not be the candidate’s singing talent, dancing talent or religion. It is not a singing competition or a temple committee election,” she said in a Facebook post. The comment prompted a heated debate on the social media with netizens rallying behind Remya.
Author and activist Sarah Joseph said the comments made by Vijayaraghavan have breached the bounds of social decency. “Remya is a Dalit candidate and she is a very promising talent. The leaders should accept that there is a space for everyone in general elections. The comments made by Vijayaraghavan are derogatory. Both the Congress and the CPM are male-dominated political parties.
Women are provided only a limited space in public sphere and such comments will discourage women from entering electoral politics. Society does not expect such remarks from people who profess equality and gender justice,” she said. Former Women’s Commission member and writer J Prameela Devi said such remarks are not befitting people who ramble on women empowerment and gender justice.