If you are a tourist in Wayanad and happen to pass by the tea stall on the national highway, you would never be able to guess that the man running the shop is the Vice Chairman of Kalpetta municipality.
R Radhakrishnan has been running the shop for the past six years and is a grocer by profession. However, his foray into the political sphere is quite an interesting story.
The man had been serving as the councillor of the new bus stand ward for the past two and a half years and that too, right out of his tea shop. Even before he was elected as the councillor, people in Kalpetta would head to his shop with requests and grievances, and if the need arose, he would shut the shop and go the extra mile to help the people, if it was possible for him to do so.
This year’s local body election wasn’t exactly the first time that Radhakrishnan had stepped into the political arena.
According to the local daily, Mathrubhumi, he had been the president of the town booth Congress committee for 28 years and was also the KSU chairman in SKMJ school in 1983, besides having contested as a Congress candidate in Rattakkolli ward 20 years ago.
Despite having rock-solid public support, Radhakrishnan wasn’t considered by the party this time or even given a seat in the polls.
This further motivated the man to contest the elections as a rebel candidate, and it was his resilience, that was also backed up by the people, that led him to sweep through the polls and defeat both the political fronts.
One could as well as say vengeance is sweet in this scenario, as Radhakrishnan took over as the vice chairman after defeating P.P. Aali, the former Vice Chairman and member of the KPCC (Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee).
Now that the man has greater responsibilities to take care of, you might think that the tea shop would go for a toss. However, Radhakrishnan seamlessly manages to balance his social responsibility and tea stall side-by-side.
He has assured everyone that there wouldn’t be any change in his way of functioning in future as well, and intends to run the tea shop as his second office.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)