It is a healthy sign of democracy when a Dalit woman with assets worth a mere Rs 22, 816 contests none other than for a parliamentary seat and wins it too. Remya Haridas’s victory in the Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Alathur constituency reminds us that a person’s humble background does not matter if they have it in them to lead people. Her confident words, “I will sing my way into your hearts,” resonated with people and they chose her to be their new MP.

Haridas, who was competing against incumbent LDF candidate PK Biju, won with over 1.5lakh votes as she received a grand total of 533,815 votes. Her victory is also a huge win for the marginalized Dalit community in the country as she gears up to become the second Dalit woman MP from the state. The first Dalit woman MP was Communist Party of India’s Bhargavi Thankappan who won from Adoor in 1971.

Her becoming a part of the Congress party is also nothing less than unusual as Haridas participated in Gandhi’s ‘Talent Hunt’ searching for upcoming leaders held in 2010. It is reported widely that party president Rahul Gandhi handpicked the 32-year-old Haridas. She may be a novice to parliamentary politics but Haridas knows the nerve of her constituency and when her candidacy was announced she was still the Block Panchayat President of Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode district.

Her candidacy came as a surprise even to her despite the fact that her name was being majorly contended from much earlier than the list was released formally. However, all didn’t go well during her canvassing as she was met with staunch anti-campaign activities by the communists who spread various rumours and objectionable remarks against her. The fact that she had an image of a young girl with basic means who breaks into song and dance during her campaign was also seen in a derisive manner by the communists. But it all seems to have worked in her favour as she now stands tall and proud being the only female MP from the state.

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Remya Haridas’s victory in the Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Alathur constituency reminds us that a person’s humble background does not matter if they have it in them to lead people. Her confident words, “I will sing my way into your hearts,” resonated with people and they chose her to be their new MP.

During her campaigns, she repeatedly ascribed to her modest living and said, “I come from a very humble background. So I know what the needs and aspirations of the people are and I will be with the people of Alathur if I win.”

Her father is a daily wage worker in a rural suburb of Kozhikode district, Kunnamangalam and her mother is currently state secretary of Congress women’s wing. Walking in her mother’s footsteps, she became a social worker early on in life. She has also been a Congress worker for several years now which has reaped fruits today for her as the party won big in Kerala—19 seats out of 20. Her meteoric rise in politics is inspiring for the lakhs of women out there as Haridas’ name is being written in history.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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