Haridas has been associated with Congress for over two decades
The negative campaign by the communists seemed to have worked in favour of Haridas
Remya Haridas, daughter of a daily wage labourer handpicked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha elections, has created history by becoming the only woman to have elected to parliament from Kerala. She is also the second ever Dalit woman MP to have elected from Kerala.
The 32-year old was one of the toppers of Gandhi's 'Talent Hunt' in search for upcoming leaders held in 2010, and has won against nearly insurmountable odds from Alathur, Kerala. The win is also spectacular given that she is a novice in politics and was up against PK Biju, a senior CPM leader who has been the sitting MP since 2009.
Haridas has been associated with Congress for over two decades. She cut her teeth in Congress student outfit Kerala Students Union and was chief of a municipality in Kozhikode district before.
A talented artist, she was mocked by the communist opponents for her casual, girl-next-door image. Her habit of breaking into songs while on the rallies prompted a Malayalam professor and writer from Kerala, Deepa Nisanth, to ask if she would sing songs or make laws in parliament. A top communist leader, V Vijayaraghavan, drew himself into a controversy by smearing Haridas with an offensive comment.
The negative campaign by the communists seemed to have worked in favour of Haridas. She has won by 1.58 lakh votes, a major feet to pull up in the red turf. The victory is in line with Congress sweeping the state. Bucking the national trend in favour of the BJP, Kerala witnessed a strong vote on the ballot against the center ruling BJP and the state-ruling CPM. Congress is set to create history by winning 19 out of 20 seats in Kerala, a first time for any party ever in Kerala.
Despite its progressive track record, Kerala's has a low track record of sending women MPs to parliament. Haridas was one among the only two women contested from Congress in Kerala. The second woman, Shanimol Usman, became the only Congress candidate to lose from Congress, against CPM's M M Ariff in Alappuzha seat.
"I thank Alathur's voters. They supported me through the thick and thin. They stood behind me during all the controversies. I will be standing along with them hereafter," a smiling Haridas told reporters, before she broke to a song to celebrate the victory.