Rahul’s presence in the Kerala constituency is expected to give a boost to the Congress across South India.
New Delhi: After days of dithering, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has decided to contest from the tourist destination of Wayanad in Kerala for the Lok Sabha elections. This will be his second seat, the first being Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul’s Wayanad yatra was announced Sunday. “Rahul ji has given his consent to contest from two seats, very happy to inform you that he will also contest from Wayanad in Kerala,” Congress leader AK Antony announced. It was Antony who had a week ago said Rahul will be contesting from Wayanad, but the High Command had said there was no such plans.
With Rahul entering the fray in Wayanad, the political landscape of Kerala politics is likely to change. It will come as a big boost for the Congress state unit which was in a quandary over the party chief’s silence.
His coming to Kerala will not only give the UDF in the state a big push up, but also lead to cementing of fissures between the A and I groups in the Congress in the State.
Rahul’s presence in the Kerala constituency would give a boost to the Congress across South India.
This is the first time that a Congress president is contesting from Kerala.
But the Congress Chief’s Wayanad presence will make the CPM-led Left Front change its strategy. The general view will be that the Congress will be fighting the CPM, not the BJP. In a way, the Congress has chosen the Bengal way to fight the CPM locally, but be friendly in Delhi.
Wayanad is in North Kerala, and shares its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Lok Sabha constituency is spread over the three revenue districts of Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram, and comprises seven Assembly segments — Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad revenue district; Thiruvambady in Kozhikode revenue district; and Nilambur, Eranad and Vandoor in Malappuram revenue district.
The Wayanad seat came into being in 2009 after the delimitation of constituencies. The senior Congress leader M I Shanavas won the first election at the seat, defeating the CPI’s M Rahmathulla by a large margin of 1.5 lakh votes. Shanavas retained the seat in 2014 — however, his margin of victory fell sharply to just over 20,000 votes.
Shanavas died in November 2018. As less than six months were left before the general elections, no bypoll was held, and the seat is currently vacant.
Wayanad is reckoned as one of the safest constituencies for the Congress in Kerala.