Of the 160 candidates, there are only five women
Umadevi M. from Mysore is one among the 11 candidates of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) in the State contesting the May 5 elections to the Legislative Assembly.
Ms. Umadevi, who is the executive committee member of the SUCI(C), Mysore, and the Mysore district president of the All-India Democratic Youth Organisation (AIDYO), is contesting from the Chamaraja Assembly Constituency, which is likely to witness a high-pitched electoral battle.
Out of the 160 candidates for 11 Assembly constituencies in Mysore district, only five are women. Besides Ms. Umadevi, two other women candidates who are in the fray in Chamaraja constituency are M. Bharati, the former Mayor and BSR Congress candidate, and Hemavathy, Independent candidate.
A prominent face in pro-people movements in Mysore and other places for the last 25 years, Ms. Umadevi, a full-time SUCI activist, is undeterred by the “common methods” adopted by the political parties during elections for winning votes. She is campaigning in the constituency with a handful of committed working people and students to bring about a change in the corrupt political system.
“I appeal for votes for a person who can be their real voice in the Assembly. They (voters) have seen their representatives they voted and their contributions. I ask voters why they want to vote for them again when they have not lived up to their expectations as their voice,” Ms. Umadevi said.
Speaking to The Hindu , Ms. Umadevi, who is also the Mysore district president of ASHA Workers’ Association, said she is the lone SUCI contender in the entire Mysore district, which has 11 Assembly constituencies.
“It is common for the people to ask what change I can bring in this political system. But, I give the example of Tarun Mondal, the SUCI MP from West Bengal, who is raising people’s voice and other pro-people issues in Parliament being a lone SUCI member. Even a lone member can make a difference,” she said.
Despite the influence of money and muscle power in elections, the SUCI candidate says she is fighting for a cause: “to be a true voice of the people”.
Ms. Umadevi says her campaign is different from the rest. “We go door-to-door raising slogans that concern the common people. It may be privatisation of education, rise in cases of violence against women, price rise, inadequate healthcare facilities and so on.”
Arguing that the feedback from women voters was good, she said, “Women voters are supporting the issues raised by SUCI.”
Her other opponents include four-time MLA and JD(S) candidate H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda, the former Mayor and Congress candidate Vasu, and the former MUDA chairperson and BJP candidate L. Nagendra.