“Rajeswari’s victory will be an answer to all”

After victory in apolitical workers struggle Pembilai Orumai tests the waters of state elections
news Kerala Elections 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 18:11

The tea garden workers of Munnar who shook Kerala’s politics in September 2015 with a fiercely independent struggle for their rights, Pembilai Orumai is now testing the turbulent waters of state elections.

Pembilai Orumai General Secretary J Rajeswari (45) is contesting the Devikulam constituency. Her candidature is a calculated risk. Its president Lissy Sunny says that the union has 3,400 members and around 40,000 voters are there in tea estate sector. They also tasted victory in the local body polls by winning three seats in civic polls – a block panchayat seat and two gram panchayat wards.

“The only challenge we face now is lack of money. We have been contributing from our limited earnings for campaigning. Unlike other bigger parties, we are not able to raise campaign funds,” Lissy told The News Minute.

Union members are also contributing their jewellery to raise funds. “Sometimes, we give up work and walk kilometres for campaigning. Although we would like to hire an autorickshaw, financial crunch is the major hurdle. But we are sure we will win,” Lissy added.

There was speculation that Orumai members might contest under AIDMK banner, but Lissy denies it. “They have approached us, but we were not ready. AIDMK has a candidate in Devikulam but she was earlier with Congress party. None of the Orumai members have joined them,” Lissy said.

Another prominent leader of the Orumai, Gomathi, contested local elections and became a panchayat member. However, following clashes within the group, she quit the Orumai to  join the CPI(M). 

“She alone left us and joined them. It was her personal decision and it has not affected our collective in any manner,” says, adding: “Rajeswari’s victory will be an answer to all.” 

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