Palakkad (Kerala): Kerala Left Front`s star campaigner, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan faces a tough challenge on the Assembly Election campaign trail from two women and a six-year-old girl.
The 87-year-old Marxist, who is contesting from Malampuzha near here, has run into an all-out attack from the trio - Lathika Subash, the Congress candidate who is making her debut; Sindhu Joy, the firebrand youth leader who quit his CPI-M and joined the Congress party; and six-year old Sneha, popularly known as "late Shari`s daughter".
Shari, a sex case victim, died of medical complications after her delivery just ahead of the 2006 assembly polls when Achuthanandan was the leader of opposition.
He had then vowed that if voted to power, the VIP who was allegedly the cause of Shari`s death, would be arrested.
Achuthanandan took full advantage of that tragic issue in the polls that year, but even after five years in power, he initiated no action on the sex case in which Shari was involved even when he took up other similar cases.
Shari`s parents and her daughter on numerous occasions had met Achuthanandan and staged protests in the state capital against the delay over the case.
This time, Lathika Subhash, the Congress candidate, has started from where Achutnanandan left off in the 2006.
Just before filing her nomination, she visited Shari`s home where Sneha handed over Rs 101 to the candidate to be used as the deposit money.
"This might be a small amount but the message is loud and clear and I would treasure this token amount given to me by this little girl," said 46-year-old Subash, a former journalist.
"I know that the election battle would be tough. My campaign against him (Achuthanandan) will be issue based, and he will have to give substantial answers despite his tall promises about stopping atrocities against women," Subhash said.
Joy, a post-doctoral fellow, was the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate against Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy at his home turf in Puduppally in the 2006 polls. She quit the party, received her Congress membership on Thursday and right away started campaigning for Chandy.
Joy has been on an all-out attack against Achuthanandan in Malampuzha as well, taking him on his "failed" promises of being the saviour of women in the state.
"I was suffering in his party for a few years and never ever did he say a word about this. If he cannot protect women in his own party, then how can he be the saviour of the women in the state?" she asked on Thursday.