A day after tonsure protest, Lathika Subhash resigns from Congress

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after she resigned as Mahila Congress chief and tonsured her head in protest following denial of ticket, Lathika Subhash on Monday quit the party and decided to contest as an independent for the April 6 assembly election from Ettumanoor.

Fiftysix-year-old Subhash, an AICC member, said she had sent in her resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran.

In the letter to Gandhi, Subhash said: "Congress had miserably failed to understand the feeling of Mahila Congress and its workers. As a woman, I feel this is a planned neglect against us."

"None of the Mahila Congress representatives had got the ticket to contest in the election," she said.

The parent organisation had not meted justice to the Mahila congress, the senior leader said resigning from the AICC. Subhash told PTI she had also resigned from the KPCC membership.

At a gathering of her well-wishers at Ettumanoor, her home townthis evening, Subhash announced she would contest as an independent and that she took the decision respecting the sentiments of her followers and well-wishers.

She was still a congresswoman. "Many leaders gave me hope and I expected a seat," Subhash said, adding she had informed Congress working committee member A K Antony and few others that she would tonsure her head in protest in case she was denied a seat.

Subhash also said she was not given the option of choosing any other seat as was being claimed by senior leaders now.

"The tonsure is to ensure that no women face the humiliation that I had gone through," she said in a choked voice.

She later took out a procession at Ettumanoor.

Senior party leaders, including Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, have said Subhash had been adamant about being allocated Ettumanoor and did not provide other options to the party.

Chandy on Monday said there was no possibility of any discussions with Subhash at this juncture.

She cannot escape responsibility as she should have shown flexibility to allow the party to select the constituency.

"She gave the alternative option only after all the decisions were made in Delhi.By then everything was decided.

It was unfortunate," Chandy said.

Ettumanoor was the most sought after seat by the Kerala Congress (Joseph) faction and they were not prepared to exchange with any other seat. It's a practice in Congress to give seats to state office bearers of the party's various organisations, he said.

Though K M Abhijith, the state president of KSU had asked for a seat, the party was unable to give to him.But since he had given an alternative option, he is contesting from there,he said.

UDF convener M M Hassan hit out at Subash, saying anyone can protest and she had the right to do so.

But the manner and the place she chose crossed alllimits.The protest in front of the party office was not right, he told reporters.

Khadi Board vice chairperson Shobana George, who had quit Congress and campaigned for the LDF in the 2018 assembly bypoll, visited Subhash and expressed solidarity with her and said her tonsured head will haunt Kerala politics forever.

Subhash had got her head tonsured sitting in front of the Congress office here on Sunday to mark her protest following denial of ticket, shocking her party.

The Congress, which announced its candidates for 86 seats out of the 92 it is contesting, has fielded nine women candidates.

In Ettumanoor, while the LDF has fielded V N Vasavan, the UDF has put up Prince Lukose.

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