Ramya's journey from block panchayat president to Kerala's only Dalit woman MP

Ramya's journey from block panchayat president to Kerala's only Dalit woman MP
Ramya Haridas is the only Dalit woman MP from Kerala.

She was the first candidate who kept singing on her campaigns, that too in a Left bastion, where vote seeking is literally a serious business. She was targeted with jibes like turning it into 'a college election'. Her Communist adversaries made cheap, sexist jokes on her character.

All that has made this victory sweeter for Ramya Haridas. The Kozhikode girl came to Palakkad and became a superstar winner. She is the only Dalit woman MP from Kerala.

Ramya Haridas was a 'baby' among contenders when candidate lists were announced. She was the youngest at 31. Yet her success has been the most spectacular. She won more than half the votes polled and gained a 1.5 lakh majority. The state Congress is sending a woman to Parliament after decades. Savithri Lakshman was the last woman from the party in state to reach Lok Sabha.

The LDF was confident of victory in Alathur from the beginning. The constituency had been turning redder over the years. Their candidate was youngster PK Biju. The Left started campaign with no fear or doubt whatsoever.

The party machinery was firing in all cylinders. Biju prowled familiar streets, meeting familiar faces. When his first phase of campaign was complete, UDF was still a messy house. Top leaders did not vie for Alathur since it was a seat UDF was set to lose. Ramya somehow made it to the top of contender list. The Kunnamangalam block panchayat president was handpicked in Rahul Gandhi’s talent hunt some years ago.

Ramya reached Alathur two months ago, on March 16. Songs were a part of her campaign from the beginning, including popular ones by Kalabhavan Mani. She neglected trolls and trollers, took abusers to court. Songs were her weapons, Ramya declared. Even so, predictions did not give her much chance. Exit polls did not see her coming. On May 23, she stunned everyone, even her own party members.

Ramya Haridas

Ramya’s songs energised cadres who were sceptical of her chances in a red bastion. It climaxed in Peringottukurissi with a song fest. The locals here accepted Ramya as their own.

The likes turned into votes and she won 5,33,815 of them, 1,58,968 more than the closest contender. The Alathur candidate has become the only woman leaving for Delhi from state. She will be the voice of Kerala in the Parliament now.

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