Kerala’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare KK Shailaja on Sunday created history in the state assembly election.
Fondly called Shailaja teacher, Shailaja secured the highest margin of victory in the 140-member Assembly. With over 60,963 votes margin, she received a resounding mandate in her constituency of Mattannur, Kannur. She defeated Illikkal Augusthy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, trailed by Biju Elakkuzhi of the BJP.
“Thank you, Mattanur, for giving me victory in the election fight. Thank you for standing by the state to outlive (struggles)," Shailaja wrote on Facebook.
Shailaja, who served as a school teacher for 23 years, joined politics full time in 2004. A former member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) -the youth wing of CPI(M), Shailaja teacher eventually became a minister for the first time in 2016 when the LDF formed the government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan.
She had contested from Kuthuparamba last term and had won by 12,291 votes. She moved to Mattannur as her seat was allotted to an alliance partner.
Shailaja had played a crucial role in helping the state contain the Nipah virus and the initial wave of COVID-19 infections. She gained international renown after she, along with other women leaders across the world, developed a leading and science-based approach to containing the novel coronavirus.
In September, UK-based Prospect magazine selected her as the ‘Top Thinker of the Year 2020’, beating New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for her role in flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Kerala.
Meanwhile the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had a historical win in the Kerala assembly elections. Winning a comfortable margin of 99 seats in the 140-constituency Assembly, the LDF has retained power in the state. This is the first time an incumbent government has been re-elected in Kerala in 40 years.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)