Very rarely do you see a rags to riches story like this – but that is the power of democracy: a world where anyone, regardless of their gender, class, or any such hurdle, can hold a political office, provided the people choose so.
Anandavalli.A, who has been working as a daily wage labourer at the Pathanapuram block panchayat in Kollam district for 10 years, is retiring on Tuesday, to assume the position of the Block Panchayat President in the same Ward.
She has been earning livelihood as a daily-wage labourer (categorised as casual sweeper) at the same Block Panchayath office since 2010. Reportedly, she stared with just Rs.2000 as her monthly income in this position, and it later rose to Rs.3000, and then Rs.6000.
This seat is reserved for Women in Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) category; but Anandavalli was elected from Thalavur division which was reserved for SC/ST individuals (regardless of gender). The Block Panchayat, which has 13 seats, will now have seven members from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the rest from its opposition, the United Democratic Front (UDF).
She belongs to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The CPI(M)-led LDF had won the Ward-level elections held in Kerala a few days ago. The results had made national headlines when the party declared that 21-year-old Arya Rajendran will be the Corporation Mayor of the capital city, Thiruvananthapuram.
Anandavalli has told the local media that although she is nervous about assuming the position of power, she is glad that the CPI(M) has shown faith in her, giving her this huge responsibility. With the party and experienced members on the board supporting her, Anandavalli is confident that she can achieve good governance in a pro-people manner, she added.
Anandavalli’s husband Mohanan is also member of the CPI(M) local committee as well as a member of the Directors’ Board at the Thalavur Service Co-operation Bank. They have two sons in school.