PhD scholar Padmaja who alleged discrimination by OU to contest from Hyderabad LS seat

Padmaja, who is a Dalit scholar, will be contesting from the Hyderabad seat alongside the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) candidate Gaddam Srinivas Yadav, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Madhavi Latha, and incumbent Hyderabad MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
PhD scholar Padmaja who alleged discrimination by OU to contest from Hyderabad LS seat
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Dr J Padmaja, a PhD scholar from the Osmania University’s chemistry department, will be contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on the Vimuktha Chiruthala Kakshi’s ticket. Vimuktha Chiruthala Kakshi is the Telangana wing of Tamil Nadu-based political party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK). The VCK has fielded Padmaja from the Hyderabad constituency. Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM is the incumbent MP from the constituency.

Padmaja, who is a Dalit, had protested against the OU administration for 130 days all by herself alleging discrimination by the university. The protest concluded on April 10. Padmaja, who belongs to the Mala community (categorised as Scheduled Caste), had alleged that the OU Teachers Association had systematically discriminated against her based on her caste and gender which adversely impacted her job prospects. 

“I did not speak up about the discrimination during my PhD due to fear and threats. Since I had surpassed the age criteria, I asked for a special exemption so that I could get a job,” she told TNM earlier. 

Padmaja had accused her guide, retired professor Anjaneyulu, and former OU Vice Chancellor, Professor S Satyanarayana, of making derogatory remarks based on her caste. She alleged that despite her teaching experience in schools and JNTU-affiliated institutions, she was unable to get a job due to the systematic discrimination.

Padmaja will be contesting against Asaduddin Owaisi, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) candidate Gaddam Srinivas Yadav, and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Madhavi Latha. The constituency is the bastion of the AIMIM. The party has consistently held the Hyderabad constituency since 1989. 

The VCK was launched in Telangana in April 2023, seven months before the state Assembly polls. The party at that point had supported the then ruling BRS as part of its strategy to counter the Hindutva ideology of the BJP-RSS. Vimuktha Chiruthala Kakshi is the Telugu name for Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, or the Liberation Panthers Party based in Tamil Nadu. Out of the 17 constituencies in Telangana, VCK is set to contest in 10.

“The VCK has always prioritised women empowerment and as such we decided to field Padmaja who has been facing gender discrimination despite her long-standing protest. She joined the VCK because she believed in our ideology of dismantling the patriarchal system,” Jilukara Srinivas, the Telangana president of the Vimuktha Chiruthala Kakshi, told TNM. 

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