The group includes 10 from the Left Democratic Front and KK Rema of RMP.

Collage of Kerala Women MLAs including KK Shailaja, Veena George and U Prathibha
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Tuesday, May 04, 2021 - 08:45

For the first time in two decades, Kerala will see a new high in the number of women legislators in the Assembly. Eleven women were elected in the recent elections, including 10 from the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Kerala last saw a double-digit number of women MLAs in 1996 when the Assembly had 13 women.

The LDF’s 10 women legislators include KK Shailaja (Mattanur), OS Ambika (Attingal), Veena George (Aranmula), CK Asha (Vaikom), J Chinchu Rani (Chadayamangalam), Daleema Jojo (Aroor), U Prathibha (Kayamkulam), R Bindu (Irinjalakuda), K Shantakumari (Kongad) and Jameela Kanathil (Koyilandy). KK Rema, the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader who was supported by the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Vadakara constituency, is the 11th leader.

OS Ambila, 54, won from Attingal with a margin of over 18,000 votes against A Sreedhraan of the UDF. Ambika, a hardcore CPI(M) worker who has also served as a panchayat president, was the LDF’s sole woman candidate in Thiruvananthapuram district. She currently serves as president of the Chirayinkeezh block panchayat.

This is the second term for Veena George from Aranmula. A renowned journalist and the first woman to head a media organisation in Kerala, she entered politics in 2016. She secured a majority of over 7,000 votes in 2016, but this time she made a clean sweep, with a majority of around 19,000 votes.

CK Asha, the Communist Party of India (CPI) leader from Vaikom, is also serving her second term in the Assembly. She won this time with a margin of more than 9,000 votes. K Shantakumari won from Kongad by a margin of more than 26,000 votes. Kongad is traditionally a Left supporting area.

U Prathibha of Kayamkulam was a grassroots level CPI(M) worker who had earlier represented local bodies. It was in 2016 that she first made an entry into the state Assembly with a majority of over 14,000 votes. This time, she won by around 3,300 votes. She had faced internal party conflict as well as popular UDF candidate Aritha Babu as a challenger.

KK Rema, RMP leader and wife of slain leader TP Chandrasekharan, made a historic entry to the Assembly from the Vadakara constituency. A former member of the Student Federation of India and CPI(M) worker, she later formed RMP alongside her husband. The firebrand leader has continued to speak out about the sensational murder of her husband, who was brutally hacked to death in May 2012 in Onchiyam, Kozhikode district. In 2014, 11, including three CPI(M) members, were sentenced by a Kerala court to life imprisonment for the crime.

                                                                               KK Rema

Daleema Jojo was known to Keralites more as a singer than a party worker. She was with the CPI(M) at the grassroots level and had earlier been elected to local bodies. She faced a tight race with Shanimol Osman of the UDF in Aroor.

R Bindu from Irinjalakuda was the former mayor of the Thrissur Municipal Corporation. Her husband, A Vijayaraghavan, is the CPI(M)’s acting state secretary and LDF conveyor. She is also a professor in the English department of Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur. She defeated Thomas Unniyadan of the UDF by more than 5,900 votes.

Jameela Kanathil, from Kuttiyadi of Kozhikode, has been a popular public worker since 2010 in district panchayats. Many of the projects she implemented, such as the Sneha Sparsham project for helping persons with kidney disease, were very popular. This time she won the seat by more than 7,400 votes.

J Chinchu Rani of the CPI won from Chadayamangalam by more than 10,000 votes. Born into a Communist family, she has been a part of the party since childhood.

Though the UDF had fielded nine women candidates this time, the Left’s sweep through Kerala saw only Rema victorious. The LDF had fielded 13 women candidates, of which 10 won. The Indian Union Muslim League fielded a woman candidate for the first time in 15 years, but Noorbina Rashid couldn't post a win.

In 2016, Shailaja Teacher, Veena George, Geeta Gopi, Shanimol Osman, Prathibha Hari, ES Bijimol, CK Asha, J Mercykutty Amma and P Aisha Potty were the state’s women MLAs.

The UDF was criticised for its denial of candidature to women. Protesting the denial of seat, former UDF MLA and Mahila Congress leader KK Latihka shaved her head and contested as an independent candidate from Ettumanoor. Many other political parties in the state have also been called out for their lack of representation for women in politics.

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