VELLORE: Plenty has been spoken about women empowerment and their representation in every aspect of nation-building. 75 years after Independence, the country has seen only one woman Prime Minister and just the same number in the presidential chair.
Call it the wheel of fortune or power, times have changed. Here’s one constituency Gudiyatham where all the four contestants are women. The ‘fantastic four’ are G Paritha (AIADMK), V Amalu (DMK), C Jayanthi Padmanabhan (AMMK) and R Kalaiyenthiri (NTK).
Interestingly, gender is not the only criteria that holds them all together. Three of the four candidates also share a common cultural trait of entering an inter-caste marriage. While Paritha and Kalaiyenthiri are throwing in their weight for the first time in an election, Amalu and Jayanthi have experienced the heat once before.
Amalu had tried her luck in the previous election from the neighbouring KV Kuppam seat, but lost to AIADMK’s G Loganathan, who was denied a ticket this time. Jayanthi, however, had tasted success here on an AIADMK ticket in 2016.
However, she lost the position after she switched camps to support the TTV Dhinakaran-faction during the infight in the party. Later in the 2019 bypolls, DMK’s S Kathavaryan won the seat, but it fell vacant again after he died of an illness.
Paritha, a post graduate, says she hopes to reap rich in the polls riding on the goodwill earned by the AIADMK government. “We are confident of winning the seat as the people will naturally support the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol because of the development this government has brought in.” Her husband Purushothaman is an officer with the State Highways Department. Similar is Amalu’s story. Belonging to a Dalit community, she married Vijayan from a non-Dalit caste. Vijayan and her brother-in-law, ‘Kallur’ Ravi, are the pillars that support her political journey. Ravi is also the DMK panchayat union secretary in Gudiyatham.
Meanwhile, Jayanthi, a well-known face to the people here, is a lawyer by profession. Her husband Purushothaman is a practicing lawyer as well. The couple fell in love while pursuing college after which they started practising law together. Purushothaman has been a constant encouragement to her political activities, says Jayanthi.
A former district panchayat councillor in Vellore, Jayanthi has been seeking votes by pointing out the need to complete the developmental projects, for which she had worked hard during her tenure. “She played a key role in reviving the abandoned Badrapalli dam project. But even before the works could be started, she had to lose her position owing to political reasons,” says Purushothaman.
Another woman candidate competing in Gudiyatham is R Kalaiyenthiri of the NTK. The 31-year-old lawyer is testing the waters here hoping to get elected for bringing in a ‘change’ in the political map. Kalaiyenthiri has been focusing on the lack of amenities for the people of Gudiyatham, a highly backward area. “I have been telling people to think of their woes before casting their votes,” she says.