THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former president of state Mahila Congress Lathika Subhash will be contesting as an independent candidate in Ettumanoor seat in the assembly elections. She announced the decision after she was denied a seat by the Congress party.
She had lodged a strong protest outside the KPCC headquarters on Sunday by tonsuring her head after her name did not figure in the candidates’ list. The 56-year-old leader had called a meeting of her supporters in Ettumanoor town on Monday evening and announced the decision. The move is a setback to the UDF candidate Prince Lukose of Kerala Congress Joseph faction as Lathika has been an active social worker in the constituency for over three decades and could walk away with a major share of UDF votes. Earlier on Monday, Lukose visited Lathika at her residence and requested her not to contest.
She also recalled the 1987 elections in Ettumanoor in which Congress leader George Joseph Podipara contested as an independent candidate and won.
She said that the Congress leaders did not ask her to contest from any constituencies other than Ettumanoor. “Joseph group did not press for Ettumanoor. On the contrary, it was the Congress leaders who wanted to give the seat to them. I had told senior Congress leader A K Antony also about my wish to contest from Ettumanoor. I had also told him on March 8 that if I am denied a seat I would protest by tonsuring my head,” said Lathika.
She also said that she resorted to such a protest not to insult anyone. “I did it for my fellow sisters. The protest was against ignoring the president of Mahila Congress. If I don’t do this now, the future Mahila Congress leaders will not get the due recognition from the party,” Lathika said.
She also resigned from her AICC and KPCC memberships. After the meeting, Lathika along with her supporters took out a demonstration in the town, launching her campaign.
Reacting to the decision of Lathika, senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy said that if one has decided to contest, no one can stop that person from doing so.
Lathika insisted on Ettumanoor: Chennithala
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that Lathika Subhash insisted on getting Ettumanoor seat and the inability to take the seat back from Kerala Congress was the reason for not fielding her. He said that Lathika never told him about her interest for Vypeen and she had specifically told him that she will not contest from any other seat. “We tried our best to take it back from Kerala Congress but to no avail,” said Chennithala.
He said that the tonsure protest should have been avoided and added that Shanimol Usman and Bindu Krishna were assigned to talk to her.