Prathibha Hari is the sitting MLA who in 2016 had won by more than 11,800 votes, the highest majority any candidate has ever achieved in the constituency.

A collage of Kayamkulam Assembly poll candidates UDF's Aritha Babu in a white Congress shawl and LDF's Prathibha Hari in a lilac saree and pink blouse
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 16:52

Pointing to Aritha Babu at the Congress Bhavan in Kayamkulam on Sunday, Thiruvananthapuram Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor said that the future of Kerala is in the hands of leaders like her. Twenty-seven-year-old Aritha is the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate from Kayamkulam constituency for the upcoming Assembly elections.

According to the UDF, Aritha has the potential to breach the Left Democratic Front (LDF) bastion. Kayamkulam was won by the LDF in the last three Assembly elections. In 2016, LDF’s Prathibha Hari won by more than 11,800 votes, the highest majority any candidate has ever achieved in the constituency.

Aritha, who has been active in the Congress for more than a decade since her school days, is confident of a win. Elected to the Alappuzha district panchayat when she was just 21, she was also a hardcore Kerala Students Union worker.

“My father was a full-time party worker who never wished for power or position. He was my inspiration. When I got elected in the 2015 local polls, it was his victory,” she told TNM at Kayamkulam while campaigning.

Aritha also says that she has a dream project for Kayamkulam’s development which will be implemented if she wins.

Having been a district panchayat member for five years, she is quite popular among people in certain areas of the constituency.

“We used to know her very well, she was quite popular in the Puthupally area and nearby places. She is very smart and active. She distributes milk in the area and gets very involved in local issues. We believe that there’s a chance for her to win,” says Ravi, who runs a tea shop in Kayamkulam.

“People come to my shop and chat about politics, there is a lot of discussion about the candidates these days,” he adds.

On the other hand, the LDF has again fielded Prathibha Hari. Saying that she expects to retain the seat, Prathibha adds that she and the people in her constituency are equals and that she knows them well. She is also confident that the popularity of the LDF government in the state will benefit her during the polls. Though there were reports about an internal feud in the party between her and some youth workers, Prathibha denies it.

“There are no issues in the party, we are all working together. We just have one aim, our party has to win again. We have given pension to the poor for the last five years, they should continue to get that. We brought in a lot of development in various sectors like education, health and family welfare. We don’t have power cuts, no load shedding, and no treasury ban. Religious secularism prevails here,” she says.

Prathibha also has many future projects in mind, especially for women and children, in the constituency apart from infrastructure development.

“I have a dream project for the rehabilitation of underprivileged widows in my constituency – mental, physical and economic upliftment. Mothers also have to be empowered. Also, I want to work on drugs and alcohol addiction among youth. Because all these bring tears to a mother’s eyes. When women are happy, society will be happy,” she says.

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