A few party workers sit in the verandah as KK Rema hastily walks into her Onchiyam residence. More party workers come in, as a crowd soon forms. Rema comes out and walks to the statue of her late husband TP Chandrasekharan. The statue of TP Chandrasekharan with his index finger pointed, is installed in the compound of the house. Rema offers flowers at the statue and stands silently while party workers shout slogans around her. This marked the beginning of KK Rema's campaign in Vadakara on Wednesday.
Koncha Kandi Rema is a leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) and will be contesting from the Vadakara Assembly constituency in Kozhikode. Rema is backed by the United Democratic Front, the Congress-led opposition in the state. She takes on Manyath Chandran of the Loktantrik Janata Dal, which is part of the Left Democratic Front led by the CPI (M).
Onchiyam is the hometown and stronghold of TP Chandrasekharan, who was once a leader of the CPI(M) . TP, as he was commonly known, floated the RMP after parting ways with the CPI(M) in 2009. TP soon became a political force in Onchiyam that falls under Vadakara.
But in May 2012, TP Chandrasekharan was murdered at the age of 51. Three leaders of the CPI(M) were convicted for the murder. Rema took to politics after her husband’s death becoming the leader of the RMP, and has been a vocal critic of the CPI(M) ever since.
"The fight is not against CPI (M), but against the anti-people policies of the LDF government. My politics is that from the people's side. We put forward an alternative politics for the people. The election is also a continuation of our political activities. TP's voice will be heard in the 15th Assembly," Rema told TNM.
The Onchiyam residence, which was finished after TP’s death, has been built as a tribute to the late leader. The living room is filled with his photographs and the mementos he received.
Rema, who had unsuccessfully contested from Vadakara in 2016, has high hopes of her victory this time. "The people of Vadakara have taken us into their hearts and there is no doubt about the victory. The political environment is such that we would win with a big margin," she said.
Rema is the only RMP candidate that will be contesting the 2021 elections. "It's not against a particular leader nor against the party [CPI(M)] but their policy that should be opposed. The party assumed power on the pretext that they were Left, but they are hypocritical Leftists. The policies and the basic values of the party have been surrendered to material forces. My fight is against that. I too believe in the message that people can be killed but can't be defeated," Rema said.