Virtual World Is Changing Kerala Poll Campaign

Swarajya Staff

Apr 27, 2016, 04:09 PM | Updated 04:09 PM IST

Photo credits- AFP/Getty Images
Photo credits- AFP/Getty Images
  • Ex-CM Achuthanandan is forced to open social media accounts at the age of 93 years.
  • Online campaign started by women activists as parties ignore their claim for tickets.
  • It is never too late to learn, especially when the virtual world rules the real world. Kerala’s former chief minister V S Achuthanandan, who is 93-year-old, has opened his Facebook page and Twitter account to connect with tech savvy and young voters. With these accounts, the Marxist veteran has joined the bandwagon of leaders who use social media to connect with people.

    Last week these accounts became active along with a revamped version of his official website to communicate with voters. The website details the personal and political life of the leader. A gallery on the website carries a large collection of pictures of the former chief minister. Some of his speeches and cartoons on him will be an added attraction for his admirers.

    Achuthanandan is contesting Malampuzha constituency here in the 16 May Assembly polls.

    Meanwhile, the matriarchal society of Kerala is witnessing a feminine revolution. Though women outnumbered men in the electorate, they seldom got more than 6 percent representation in the assembly. As a result, women activists in Kerala have called on voters to use Nota (none of the above) option during voting in the assembly polls to register protest against the poor representation to the women in the state legislature.

    A group of activists have launched an online campaign to canvas votes for Nota. The group called ‘Women’s Collective for Gender Justice’ has also planned to conduct rallies in major centres in the state. The collective said they were forced to register their protests as none of the parties had paid any heed to their plea for giving equal representation to the women.

    The total number of women candidates fielded by the three major political combinations in the current election is 37. The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front have fielded the maximum number of 17 women candidates this time.

    Only eight women candidates figure in the Congress-led ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) while the list of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) contains 12 women. Not a single women figure in the 57 seats allotted to its allies, including the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the Kerala Congress (M).

    The women activists say most of the seats given to the women are with little winning chance. The results of the past elections show that more than 60 per cent of the women fielded by major parties had lost the election.

    The representation of women in the ministries has also been very poor. None of the ministries since 1957 had more than one woman minister. Two ministries had no women participation at all.

    However, there is change at the grassroots level. The representation is more than 50 percent in the local bodies in the state. This is because of 50 per cent reservation for women in the rural and urban bodies. The last local body elections saw the women candidates outnumbering male candidates.

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