Rahul to contest from Wayanad and Amethi

Rahul to contest from Wayanad and Amethi
Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi/Amethi, Mar 31 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/31/2019 12:41:07 PM IST

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Announcing the decision at a news conference at the party headquarters in Delhi on Sunday, senior Congress leader AK Antony said Rahul Gandhi has accepted the demands of thousands of workers from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to contest from a second seat in south India.

“There were many considerations while selecting Wayanad and the foremost one was that it is a tri-junction and borders both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” he said. (Click for live updates)

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “While Amethi remains the karmabhoomi of Rahul Gandhi, he has respected the sentiments of the thousands of workers from south India by accepting to contest from Wayanad in Kerala.”

Wayanad, a rural district, has been a Congress stronghold. The constituency was carved out from Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur during the restructuring of constituencies in 2008.

The ruling Left Democratic Front has fielded CPI’s PP Suneer and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has left the seat for BDJS (Bhartiya Dharma Jana Sangam, an outfit being floated by backward Ezhava community).

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had earlier said there was no question of withdrawing the party candidate.

Pressure had been building up on Rahul Gandhi to contest from south India apart from Amethi to boost the morale of the cadre with leaders from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala urging him to select a second seat of his choice in their respective states.

The Congress boss was given the option of Bangalore Central, Bidar and Mysore from Karnataka, Kanyakumari and Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala.

With this decision, Rahul Gandhi becomes the third member of the Gandhi family to select a second seat from south India. Prior to him, his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had contested from Chikmagalur in Karnataka in 1978 while his mother and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi fought from Bellary in the same state in 1998.

Indira Gandhi had contested the Lok Sabha by-elections from Chikmagalur in 1978, a year after she was defeated by Raj Narain of Janata Party from Rae Bareli post the Emergency.

Will still back our son, Rahul: Amethi voters

Unfazed by their MP Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Kerala’s Wayanad seat as well in the Lok Sabha elections, voters in Amethi say they will support “the son” of their “VIP constituency”. Amethi goes to polls on May 6.

The Congress on Sunday announced Congress President’s decision to contest from two seats -- Amethi and Wayanad. Gandhi has represented Amethi undefeated since 2004, but faces a stiff competition from BJP’s Smriti Irani this time. His winning margin narrowed to just over one lakh votes against Irani in 2014.

Asked if the voters in Amethi will support Gandhi after his new decision, Congress District Chief Yogendra Mishra was quick to bring in the “son versus the outsider” analogy in his party leader’s support. 

He claimed that Gandhi will get no less then five lakh votes in Amethi despite his decision to contest from two seats. “Here everyone considers Rahul Gandhi a part of their family. So the voters will back the son of Amethi, rather than the outsider Smriti Irani,” he told IANS. 


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