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Denial of seats forced many woman leaders to quit Congress

Rahul Gandhi MP’s promise to have more woman leaders including a woman chief minister has set high hopes.

Published: 12th April 2021 06:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2021 06:22 AM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi posing for a selfie with a girl at a campaign rally in Karur on Monday. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After each assembly election, the Congress trend shows woman leaders ditching the party when tickets are denied. From Jaya Darly, Shahida Kamal, Sobhana George, Geetha Ashokan, Lathika Subhash to K C Rosakutty, the Congress party had lost many woman leaders over the last two decades.When the state Congress leaders had not taken the women representation seriously, Rahul Gandhi MP’s promise to have more woman leaders including a woman chief minister has set high hopes.

Jaya Darly, 42, was the state Youth Congress general secretary when T Siddique was the state president during 2007 - 10. She was given a promise by the Congress leadership that she would be given a ticket to contest in the 2010 civic body elections, but in vain citing that she was physically challenged.

“I have been affected by polio since I was a six year old. But that had not deterred me to work for the Congress across the state with my father, J Wilson, a former panchayat member at Perumpazhuthoor in Neyyatinkara municipality. What hurt me most was the way in which the Congress leadership sidelined me from giving a ticket citing that I am physically challenged”, Darly told TNIE. 

She crossed over to the CPM fold without batting an eyelid and went on to become a CPM councillor from Neyyatinkara municipality. Shahida Kamal had unsuccessfully contested in the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Kasaragod and also from Chadayamangalam assembly seat in 2011 under Congress banner. When she was denied a party ticket in the 2016 assembly elections, she joined the CPM. Now Shahida Kamal is a member of the Kerala Women’s Commission.58-year-old Sobhana George had joined the CPM during 2016 when she was denied a Congress ticket after she had represented Chengannur Assembly constituency thrice. 

Geetha Ashokan, Youth Congress state secretary during Dean Kuriakose’s presidentship had stepped down from the Congress during 2013 when she was sidelined by the party. She contested against Shanimol Osman as an independent candidate during the 2019 by-election in Aroor. But when these woman leaders had left the Congress, there was an initial hue and cry which later fizzled out. The action of former Mahila Congress state president Lathika Subhash where she tonsured her head at the party headquarters at Indira Bhavan is an incident which had rattled the state Congress leadership when she was denied the Ettumanoor assembly seat.

“I still don’t have any regrets in doing so. When YC and KSU state presidents, Shafi Parambil and K M Abhijith, were given tickets, I was sidelined. My fight was for all woman leaders who were aspiring to get a party ticket. If not for my cause, BJP’s Sobha Surendran, RMPI’s K K Rema and Congress’ Veena S Nair would not have got seats”, Lathika Subhash told TNIE. She contested as an independent candidate from her home town, Ettumanoor, this time.


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