THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress, which has paid only lip service to the prospect of allotting winnable seats to women so far, may change its stand this time. The party may test woman power in Thrissur and Wayanad Lok Sabha constituencies for a change. While Thrissur may see a fresh face Dr. Niji Justin—battling it out, Wayanad may witness Shanimol Usman or Fathima Rosna trying their luck.
Dr. Niji Justin, 48, Thrissur DCC vice-president, is a resident of East Fort and gynaecologist at Thrichur Co-operative Hospital. Dr. Niji has local support, is popular and accepted by a large section of voters. She is a Roman Catholic and Thrissur has favoured a Catholic candidate, said a Thrissur-based Congress leader.
She was supposed to contest from Ollur Assembly constituency in 2009, but ‘I’ group leader M. P. Vincent was fielded due to the intervention of the Thrissur bishop. Vincent became candidate in 2016 also but was defeated by CPI’s K. Rajan.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, K. P. Dhanapalan and P. C. Chacko swapped Chalakudy and Thrissur seats and both were defeated. The AICC has found Dr. Niji suitable after a survey for the coming polls. The hopefuls for Wayanad seat are Fathima Rosna, All-India Mahila Congress secretary, and Shanimol Usman, the lone woman member of the political affairs committee.
“The Wayanad DCC wants a local Congress leader as candidate and Rosna Fathima belongs to the same constituency. However, a Malayali business tycoon based in UAE has been lobbying for the family of the late M.I. Shanavas, former MP from Wayanad,” said a senior woman Congress leader. A party source said that orthodox Muslims in Wayanad may not vote for a woman leader candidate creating uncertainty on that account.
Meanwhile, Vattiyoorkavu MLA K. Muraleedh-aran will leave for New Delhi on Monday to lobby for Wayanad seat. He will attend the campaign committee meeting being chaired by party president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday.