I can be an MP who lives with the people: Anne Raja

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On a spirited day in Wayanad, around 40 people gather in Vaduvanchal. A group of men, with white scarves on their heads, stand near a metal sphere, facing a makeshift podium about 100 meters in front of them. A group of women, some wearing saris, with thin sandalwood paste on their foreheads, some veil, take shelter under the shade under the giant speaker. He stands there with conviction as he looks at the podium, listening to some local communist leaders talk to him about the Citizenship Amendment Act, electoral bonds and much more. Posters reading ‘Vote Comrade Annie Raja’ hang around the podium and nearby walls.

Suddenly, a man picks up a few red flags with a ‘hammer and sickle’, the symbol of the Communist Party of India, and walks towards the road where a white Toyota Innova is parked. The crowd quickly follows him. As Anne Rajah opens the front door of the car and gets out, they surround him, waiting for an opportunity to shake hands with him. She doesn’t disappoint, as she gracefully does, and she marches with them to the podium.

A senior CPI leader, Raja is the Left Democratic Front’s 2024 general election candidate from Wayanad, where she will face Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, the sitting MP from the constituency, and BJP’s K Surendran. The current BJP government is now targeting Muslims. Christians would be next in line, and then everyone who was not a Brahmin, the king said. Elected only nine times from Wayanad.

Senior CPI leader Annie Raja is the Left Democratic Front’s 2024 general election candidate from Wayanad, where she will face Congress scion Rahul Gandhi. Photo Credit: Special Arrangements

“I have been hearing a lot of complaints about how the current MP is unapproachable. The people here deserve better, an MP who will stand by them. I can be that,” she says later Businessline, on his way to his next campaign location. At 58, Raja is five years older than Gandhi. Born into a communist family in northern Kerala, she entered politics through the All India Students’ Federation (AISF), the student wing of the CPI. Later she worked for AIYF and CPI and headed the National Federation of Indian Women. However, this is Raja’s first election. “For us communists, politics is not just about contesting elections. That’s just part of it. So far I have had organizational responsibilities. Now, my party entrusted me with a new responsibility, and I gladly took it up. If I am elected, my role will be to represent my people and speak for them in Parliament,” she says.

The Left and the Congress are allies in the Bharat Bloc, while in some states like Kerala they fight against each other. Asked about that, Raja said, “We are in an alliance to fight fascism, but from the beginning we had an understanding that we would fight as Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala.” However, Raja does not hesitate to express his anger at Gandhi’s decision to face re-election from Wayanad. “There are states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana where the Left and Congress are allies. The leaders there wanted him to fight from there, but he again chose Wayanad. He could have contested from any of these seats if the Congress had wished to have him as an MP. Now I am beginning to wonder if Gandhi took the fight against fascism so lightly,” she said.

At the same time, he dismisses Gandhi as a ‘big name’ in Indian politics. “During elections, kings and queens are people. We are confident that they are convinced of how important we are to them and how this government is trying to build a Brahminical society,” she says, slamming the Modi government for implementing the CAA, keeping wages low for NREGA. , not guaranteed. Issue of MSP and election bonds to protesting farmers. “It is daylight robbery. The Modi government has done corruption in the garb of law and now even the common man is aware of it. We are creating more awareness on this issue while campaigning,” she says, “only horse-trading and arresting opposition leaders to the government.” They have done nothing for the common man.”

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