At the age of 25, Aswathi Rajappan – better known as Chinju to friends – is perhaps one of the youngest candidates in the Lok Sabha fray for 2019. A postgraduate degree holder from Mahatma Gandhi University of Kerala, Chinju is a Dalit, intersex person who is contesting from Ernakulam, as an independent candidate in a constituency that’s set to witness a high powered battle.
“I am a person who has been through multiple oppressions in life. My candidature for the Lok Sabha polls is my fight to acquire equal representation for all marginalised sections of society,” Chinju tells TNM.
Chinju, who uses ze/zir pronouns, is up against Ernakulam sitting MLA Hibi Eden who is trying to get the Lok Sabha seat; Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Alphons Kannanthanam; and former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev. The three of them are representing the UDF, NDA, and LDF respectively. But Chinju is not worried about winning or losing, as zir nomination is for a larger cause.
“My candidature is a decision taken by the queer community of Kerala,” Chinju says, “We have lost belief in all the political parties in the country. However progressive their proclamations are, nobody has done justice to the community.”
“Ernakulam is a place that has a good number of queer members and people who support the queer community. And Kochi is a place that always welcomes change. Moreover, throughout my life I have lived in Angamaly, which is close to Kochi. There are many people here who have always stood by me in my journey,” the independent candidate says.
Follow Chinju Aswathi Rajappan’s campaign page here.