New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday announced that party president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Kerala’s Wayanad seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, besides Amethi.
The announcement was made by senior Congress leader from Kerala A K Antony.
“For the past so many weeks there has been continuous requested and demands from the Congress workers and our partners, they feel that Rahul Gandhi should contest one seat from South India. The requests and demands were mainly raised by Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” Antony said.
Asked whether Rahul is not confident in Ameth, Congress spokersperson Randeep Surjewala said “Why did Modi Ji leave Gujarat and contest from Varanasi? Was he not confident in Gujarat? These are immature and childish comments. She (smriti Irani) will complete a hattrick of losses.”
“These is a message to the southern states that they are deeply valued and respected. Congress president has said he will represent Amethi buty alo represent southern states as they are an important part of India’s way of life,” he said.
The Congress believes that Wayanad district, that has been one of the most impacted in the devastating 2018 floods, will stand to gain if the Congress President is the candidate who wins from the seat.
In 2014 and 2009, M I Shanavas of the Congress won the seat, defeating the Communist Party of India (CPI). The seat has been vacant since Shanavas’s death in November 2018.
Though Shanavas’s victory margin had reduced drastically between 2009 and 2014, the Congress still believes this is a safe seat for their leader. Wayanad district has around 49 per cent Hindus and 49 per cent Muslims and Christians.
Soon after Congress made the announcement about Rahul contesting from Karala, BJP chief Amit Shah ridiculed Rahul Gandhi’s decision, saying he has “fled” to Kerala fearing that Amethi voters will seek an account of work done by him and his party over the years.
In 2014 elections, Smriti Irani had contested against Rahul in a high decible battle. Rahul won the elections but his victory margin had come down signigicantly.
The results of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections held in 2017 also became a cause of worry for the Congress. The BJP managed to win four of the five Assembly seats which fell under the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.
Though Smriti lost to Rahul, she has visited Amethi several times and has held rallies and public gatherings, targetting Congress President over various issues.