In an embarrassment to the Congress in Kerala, party's women's wing president Lathika Subhash on Sunday resigned from the post hurt over the denial of Ettumanoor seat to her, shortly after the candidates list for the April 6 assembly polls was released in New Delhi.
The 56-year-old senior leader also shaved her head sitting in front of the Congress office in Thiruvananthapuram as a mark of protest.
Subahash, who met reporters at the party headquarters Indira Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, soon after the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief Mullappally Ramachandran announced the party list at New Delhi, said it was short of women candidates.
Of the list of 86 candidates released on Sunday by the Congress, only 9 are women.
It may be for the first time that any leader in any political party in Kerala has taken such a drastic step in protest against the party leadership for denial of poll ticket.
A known woman face among party leaders and activists, Lathika Subhash had taken over as the head of Mahila Congress in 2018 from Bindhu Krishna, now a party candidate in Kollam.
A weeping Subhash said she had tonsured her head as a symbol of protest for all the women in the party who have been toiling hard for the success of other candidates, have been sidelined and ignored by the leadership for years.
She also said she does not want to continue in a position which could not earn her even a deserved election ticket.
"I am saddened by the candidate selection of KPCC. We sought for 20 per cent seats for women.. but at least expected one woman candidate from each district.
But those women leaders who used to work for the party have been totally ignored," she said.
Recollecting her journey with the Congress through these years, the woman leader said her name used to be heard during the time of elections, but never found a place in the candidate list.
"This time, a 27-year-old woman was given a chance. We are happy... but many senior leaders have been ignored. I have been working for this party for a long time. Many MLAs of the Congress party are junior to me," she said.
Subhash also pointed out that former Mahila Congress chief and present DCC president Bindhu Krishna had to cry on Saturday to get her name included in the candidates' list.
She also said she would not quit the Congress or join any other but would live from now onwards as an ordinary party worker.
Reacting to the development, however, Mullappally Ramachandran rejected her charges that she had been sidelined.
She has always been a very obedient party worker and the Congress had not ignored her, he said.
"We could not give her seat this time... but it was not intentional...She wanted Ettumanoor seat which had to be given to Kerala Congress (M) Joseph faction. We will surely accommodate her in future," he said.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, said the party had tried its best to include everyone and there are many able leaders who have not been given ticket for this election.
I request every UDF members and workers to work for the front's victory.
UDF Convenor M M Hassan said the party wanted to give the Ettumanoor seat to Lathika, but the KC(J) was adamant in getting the seat.
Though some other seats were considered for her, it did not work out, he said.