Why Shama Mohamed is ‘disappointed’ with Congress’s Kerala candidates list

Congress announced 16 candidates from the state on Friday

Shama Mohamed Shama Mohamed

A day after the Congress announced its candidates from Kerala for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, party’s national spokesperson Shama Mohamed has openly expressed her disappointment with the list as it featured only one woman.

"You should give representation to women. Last time, there were two women candidates (from Kerala). But after passing of the Women Reservation Bill, there is only one this time. That is my greatest disappointment," Shama told reporters on Saturday.

Ramya Haridas, who has been fielded in her sitting seat of Alathur in Palakkad district, is the only woman in the Congress’s list of 16 candidates for Kerala. Shama said even Ramya would not have made it to the list, if Alathur had not been a reservation seat.

“I am not making any complaint; it’s a request. Women should be given more representation. Women voters are going to other parties. To get them back, the party needs more women candidates,” she lamented.

The AICC spokesperson also recalled party leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks during a Mahila Congress programme in Kochi that within 10 years, 50 per cent of the chief ministers in the country should be women.

The BJP has fielded three women candidates, and the Left parties have two for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.

Shama’s remarks assume significance and have raised a few eyebrows in the political circle as they came a day after Padmaja Venugopal, daughter of later Congress stalwart K. Karunakaran, resigned and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP is likely to use Shama’s remarks to further target the Congress, as the saffron camp has been alleging that the grand old party was never serious about providing reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

The Women’s Reservation Bill, passed by the parliament in September 2023, is a major campaign plank for the BJP in the general elections.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP fielded 55 candidates, of whom 41 won. The Congress fielded 54 candidates, but only six of them emerged victorious.

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