Penn and Politics is a series where we bring you the voices of aspiring women political leaders and politicians contesting in the 2021 Assembly elections, in a move towards better representation of women in politics.
KK Rema, from Vadakara constituency in northern Kerala, is the wife of deceased Marxist leader TP Chandrasekharan. Formerly a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader in Kozhikode, he was murdered in 2012 by three CPI (M) workers who were convicted in the case. Chandrasekharan founded his own party – the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) – in 2009 after his relations with CPI (M) got strained and he broke away from it.
Rema forayed into politics after Chandrasekharan’s death and has been vocal about political violence ever since. This is the second time she is contesting from Vadakara in the upcoming Assembly polls on April 6. She unsuccessfully contested from the constituency in the 2016 elections.
Why do you want to run - why should people vote for you?
Rema: I have been with ordinary people and seen their issues, and have been working with them. That gives me the most confidence. I have been among them and I am confident that I will be able to offer solutions to their problems and that confidence is crucial in elections.
What is your biggest contribution to the welfare of people so far?
This is a fight against injustice and atrocity [such as my husband’s murder]. There should be space for everyone to live, there should be equality. People shouldn’t be killed for politics, and everyone should be treated humanely. I will be there as the people's representative in this fight.
You will be a legislator for the state if you win; what laws do you think need to be brought or changed?
For that, a detailed study needs to be done. I was someone who never thought of coming into politics. Now that I have, I will put more thought and study into this too.
Why do you think women MLAs are important for the state?
The representation of women is lower in the legislative bodies. Of course, progress for women and their safety can be achieved only when women are present in the legislative bodies and also have a voice in the process of decision making and legislation.
What are the top issues in your constituency that will be your priorities after you win?
The first one is education. There is not a big development regarding educational infrastructure in Vadakara. I will work to have educational institutions of international standard while addressing the backward condition of the existing institutions.
The second one is to ensure the safety of people who live in the coastal region. There is a situation in which their housing is unsafe when the sea is rough.
And the third one is to protect coconut farmers and also to bring back the glory of Vadakara in sports. There has been a stagnation of development in Vadakara – that has to be changed, and there needs to be a developmental jump.
Are you going to be campaigning on the strength of your party and its chief? What is your pitch as a candidate, beyond your party?
I have ‘out forward’ the politics which is against ‘murder’ politics after the death of TP Chandrasekharan. A person who steps out of home for political work should be able to reach back home safely. My message is against political atrocity.