Aritha Babu is the youngest Congress candidate this election and makes a living by selling milk.

Collage of Ariff in yellow shirt and smiling and Aritha in green blouse and pink Sari and smiling
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Monday, April 05, 2021 - 16:50

On Sunday, AM Ariff, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Member of Parliament (MP) from Alappuzha, made a demeaning remark against Aritha Babu, the Congress’s candidate in Kayamkulam for the Assembly election. Referring to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF)’s campaign highlighting Aritha’s livelihood of selling milk, Ariff said that this was not an election to the milk society but for the Kerala Assembly.

He was speaking at a women’s gathering in Kayamkulam towards the last hours of campaigning in Kerala, which goes to polls on Tuesday.

Aritha is the youngest candidate the Congress is fielding this time. The 26-year-old makes a living by selling milk from her cow everyday to support her family. Mullappally Ramachandran, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president in Kerala, introduced her as hailing from a marginalised community, spending time between selling milk and doing social and political work. He called her the party’s model candidate.

Read: Meet Aritha Babu, Congress’s youngest Assembly candidate in Kerala

A post-graduate in Social Works Aritha got elected to the Alappuzha District Panchayat when she was only 21.

She reacted to Ariff’s comment to Asianet News, saying that she was pained by his words. He was a people’s representative and the MP of Alappuzha which included Kayamkulam constituency too. She said that it was an insult not just to her but all of the working class which the Communist party represents.

Senior Congress leader and incumbent leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala demanded an apology from Ariff for his words against Aritha. The MP’s remark is in bad taste and the people of Kayamkulam will give a reply to it, Chennithala said.

Kayamkulam has been a bastion of the LDF for the last 15 years. Standing for the LDF this year is the sitting Member of Legislative Assembly U Prathibha who had won the 2016 election with a majority of more than 11,800 votes.  

Watch: Election Porkalam: In Kayamkulam, it’s a battle between two women

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