At the PWD (Public Works Department) guest house in Kulanada, Veena George is is sitting alone. After a short break, the legislator of Aranmula constituency, rushed to a few events where she was invited as the guest speaker, after which she had to go for her election campaigning as this time too, she is the candidate for Communist Party of India (Marxist) from Aranmula.
Veena George, a former renowned journalist, might be among the few MLAs in the state who travels alone, as well as attends meetings and events alone. Even during her election campaigns, nobody accompanies her.
We caught up with Veena during a break from her election campaigning. Speaking to TNM, she said that when she entered politics in 2016, there were many issues in the constituency that required immediate attention after she became an MLA.
"Aranmula is the largest constituency in Kerala considering the number of voters, number of local bodies and population. When I was elected, the basic facilities at this constituency were very poor. Government hospitals, schools were in a poor condition. The agriculture sector too. Aranmula has a rich farming tradition. There was a drinking water issue,” she said.
Veena is confident of winning again as she said that she was able to bring about basic development in all these sectors. Pointing to the number of changes brought in by the government, she said, "We constructed or renovated around 38 roads. Hospitals were renovated and the changes are visible. General hospitals and district hospitals were converted to speciality hospitals. Barren lands were fully converted into farmlands. Now, this constituency is barren land-free. The Varattar river was dead for 30 years. We gave life to it, with the leadership of the state government, incorporating the public.”
She also added that it was women who called her for help mostly and they used to share their smallest concerns.
Veena said if she wins, she will look to carry forward the projects already started. "We brought in basic development in all the sectors in the last five years. Next, our major focus will be improving the living status of the families who are below the poverty line. We need to bring new drinking water projects and aim to provide drinking water to all in a scientific way. It will be the continuation of what we did for the last five years," she said, adding that the LDF government has kept its promises in the last five years which gives her the confidence to win this election.
When asked why women are still being neglected in the candidate lists of political parties, she said that the situation will change over time.
"More women will come. We aim at one woman (candidate) in each district. Now, 12 are contesting (from CPI(M)). Many women will come into leadership," she said.