As the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) clinched a historic victory in Kerala, it's none other than Health Minister KK Shailaja who has secured the highest margin of victory in the 140-member Assembly. KK Shailaja, who is fondly called Shailaja teacher, won from the Mattannur constituency in her hometown of Kannur, with a margin of over 60,963 votes.
The 64-year-old CPI(M) leader has won global acclaim for her effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Nipah virus outbreak in 2017-2018. She won hearts with her able leadership skills while keeping the health system motivated throughout the health crises. Shailaja turned out to be one of the most popular campaigners for the LDF in the 2021 elections.
KK Shailaja, who served as a school teacher for 23 years, joined politics full time in 2004. A former member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of CPI(M), Shailaja teacher eventually climbed the party rung and became a minister for the first time in 2016 when the LDF formed the government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan.
"Thank you, Mattanur, for giving me victory in the election fight. Thank you for standing by the state to outlive (struggles)," Shailaja wrote on Facebook.
Shailaja had contested and won the 2016 Assembly elections from Kannurâ€™s Kuthuparamba constituency, with a margin of 12,291 votes. In the 2021 election, she was fielded from the Mattannur constituency.
Incidentally, the highest victory margin in the state so far had been the 45,587 votes secured by Kerala Congress leader PJ Joseph in the 2016 Assembly elections. Joseph contested from the Thodupuzha constituency in the Idukki district. In the 2021 election, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also secured a big win with a margin of over 50,000 votes. Pinarayi won from his sitting constituency of Dharmadam in Kannur.
The LDF has retained power in the state by winning a comfortable margin of 99 seats in the 140-constituency Assembly.