Congress leader Lathika Subhash who resigned as the chief of the Kerala Pradesh Mahila Congress and tonsured her head in protest after she was denied a seat by the party to the state Assembly polls, has now resigned from the party. She has also decided to contest as an independent candidate from Ettumanoor constituency in Kottayam.
Fifty six-year-old Lathika, who was a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), said she had sent in her resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullappally Ramachandran.
In the letter to Gandhi, Lathika Subhash said, â€śCongress has miserably failed to understand the feeling of Mahila Congress and its workers. As a woman, I feel this is a planned neglect against us. None of the Mahila Congress representatives had got the ticket to contest in the election.â€ť
The parent organisation had not meted justice to the Mahila congress, the senior leader said, resigning from the AICC. She told PTI she had also resigned from the KPCC membership.
At a gathering of her well-wishers at Ettumanoor, her home town on Monday evening, Lathika announced she would contest as an independent and that she took the decision respecting the sentiments of her followers and well-wishers.
"Many leaders gave me hope and I expected a seat," Lathika said, adding she had informed Congress working committee member AK Antony and few others that she would tonsure her head in protest in case she was denied a seat.
Senior party leaders, including Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, have said Lathika Subhash had been adamant about being allocated Ettumanoor and did not provide other options to the party.
Chandy on Monday said there was no possibility of any discussions with Lathika at this juncture.
â€śShe cannot escape responsibility as she should have shown flexibility to allow the party to select the constituency. She gave the alternative option only after all the decisions were made in Delhi. By then everything was decided. It was unfortunate," Oommen Chandy said.
Meanwhile, Lathika Subhash reacted saying that she was not given the option of choosing any other seat as was being claimed by senior leaders now.
Ettumanoor was the most sought after seat by the Kerala Congressâ€™s Joseph faction, which is with the United Democratic Front (UDF) and they were not prepared to exchange the constituency with any other seat, Oommen Chandy said. It's a practice in Congress to give seats to state office bearers of the party's various organisations, he said.
Meanwhile, UDF convenor MM Hassan hit out at Lathika Subhash, saying anyone can protest and she had the right to do so. But the manner and the place she chose, crossed all limits. The protest in front of the party office was not right, he told reporters.
On Monday, Khadi Board Vice Chairperson Shobana George, who had quit Congress and campaigned for the LDF in the 2018 assembly bye-pollsl, visited Lathika Subhash and expressed solidarity with her. Shobana added that the tonsured head of Lathika Subhash will haunt Kerala politics forever.