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When Kerala Assembly Speaker AN Shamseer set an example by constituting an all-women panel of legislators to preside over sessions in his absence, the Congress-led Opposition UDF found in it an opportunity to settle scores with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M) — in a different way.
While nominating U Prathibha of CPI(M) and CK Asha of CPI to the panel, the Speaker asked the Opposition to put forward the name of Congress MLA Uma Thomas.
But in a tactical move, Uma Thomas suggested the name of KK Rema of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) in her place.
Rema is the sole representative of the RMP, established by her late husband, the charismatic TP Chandrasekharan, who had parted ways with the CPI(M) in 2009 and challenged it in its traditional stronghold of Onchiyam in North Kerala.
Hired goons deputed by a section of the CPI(M) hacked Chandrasekharan to death in May 2012.
The brutal murder marked Rema’s emergence as a powerful voice against criminal politics and vendetta in Kerala.
But ever since she became an MLA, the ruling front has used its might to silence her. Some leaders, like MM Mani, used unparliamentary language against her, while others disrupted her speeches in the house.
By suggesting her name for the all-woman panel at the cost of its lone woman member, the Congress showed that it stands solidly with Rema, who has an independent approach even while sitting in the Opposition benches and goes by the merits of each issue.
From now on, Rema — who considers Vijayan her arch enemy, accusing him knowing of the conspiracy to kill her husband — will be able to discipline even her harshest critics in the ruling front.