The Congress leader Mercy Ravi, who died on Saturday morning after a protracted illness at a private hospital in Chennai, maintained a unique relationship with Kottayam: she is the first and so far the only woman elected to the Assembly from the constituency and Kottayam is the only constituency she has represented.
She was elected to the Assembly in 2001 after defeating her nearest rival and the then CPI(M) district secretary Vaikom Viswan with a comfortable majority of 11841 votes. In fact, she was the second non-Left candidate to represent the constituency in the Assembly since 1977 and the first one to reach the House after fighting on a party emblem other than that of the Communist parties during this period. It was in 1982 that N Sreenivasan got elected to the Assembly as an Independent with UDF support.
Her physical presence in the constituency was often compromised on account of her illness but even in her absence she was keen to implement as many developmental programmes as possible, the majority of them directly affecting the life of the poorer sections of the constituency.
In this endeavour she mopped up the funds from her Local Area Development funds and also from her husband Vayalar Ravi’s (who was a Rajya Sabha MP). In fact, she set a new example by incorporating as many civil society organizations as possible in such endeavours.
Very few knew that the idea of Internal Container Terminal at Nattakom was mooted during her tenure as the MLA and the entrepreneurs had an enthusiastic listener in Mrs Ravi.
However, her greatest strength in the new terrain was the personal relationships she had woven in a short span of time that had come to her support in her developmental activities. Mrs Ravi did not contest the 2006 elections.