When cows graced roof tops during 1977 elections

alappuzha-election
The Congress’ election symbol during the 1977 polls was ‘cow with a suckling calf’.
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Congress leader V M Sudheeran first plunged into election fray in 1977 when he was the president of Kerala Youth Congress. The 1977 general elections were held immediately after the Emergency, and the Youth Congress workers felt exhilarated over the fact that their leader was contesting the polls. Many national leaders, including the then Youth Congress national president Ambika Soni, came to Alappuzha to campaign for Sudheeran.

"The youth spearheaded the electioneering work for the party," reminisces then Youth Congress district president D Sugathan. Treading a new path, the party came out with posters with photos of the candidate and calendars requesting votes for Sudheeran. The calendars were sold at Re 1 each and the proceeds were used to fund the election campaign. Many calendars were sold than expected.

The Congress' election symbol during the 1977 polls was 'cow with a suckling calf.' "The Youth Congress members took the initiative to draw the party symbol as part of the election campaign. The symbol took different sizes and shapes as whoever had little drawing skills started to draw the graffiti at many places," reminds Sugathan.

When Sudheeran asked about the logic behind drawing the party election symbol on roof tiles of various houses, the party workers replied, “Let Indira Gandhi see the party symbol when she comes on a helicopter.”

The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) then used to foot the campaign bills of each party candidate. The 1,000 rupee note came into circulation during that period, and after the general elections, the district party election committee had six such notes in hand. A Delhi airticket, priced Rs 1,500,  was bought from this balance amount so that Sudheeran, the new Alappuzha Lok Sabha representative, could attend the Lok Sabha session.  

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