This street vendor is set to head a panchayat in Kerala

This street vendor is set to head a panchayat in Kerala
Asha is sells paan and betel leaves at the Sreemoolam market.

Adoor: V S Asha, a street vendor who sells betel leaves, chunnambu (alkaline lime) and areca nuts, is all set to head the Ezhamkulam panchayat near here. She had won as an LDF candidate from the 18th ward that is reserved for the scheduled castes. Asha has been selling paan at the markets in Adoor Sreemoolam and Parakode Anantharamapuram markets for years. Besides, she is an active member of the Kudumbashree.

The post of president at the Ezhankulam panchayat is reserved for a woman who belongs to the scheduled caste. LDF has won this panchayat and the opportunity to become the president fell on Asha after the candidate from the 3rd ward, also a reservation ward, didn’t win the election. Meanwhile, Asha is still seen selling paan and betel leaves at the Sreemoolam market. Earlier, her mother-in-law Sharada used to sell the betel leaves. However, Asha took over the business six years ago when Sharada fell ill. The alkaline lime is made by Asha at home. Betel leaves and areca nuts are purchased from the wholesalers. Asha’s husband Arukalil Padinjaru Velanparambil Manikuttan, who is a painting worker, and their children Anoop and Amal support her in all her activities.

Asha is also the secretary of the Kasturba (B) Kudumbasree unit in the 18th ward. It was Mohan Nair, former panchayat member in this ward, who led Asha into the poll fray. Asha says she would entrust her paan business to her husband and kids when she takes oath as the new panchayat president. 

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