Wayanad: Congress president Rahul Gandhi may contest from Wayanad constituency in Kerala, Congress leaders hinted.
Manorama News reported on Saturday that such a development is a possibility after AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala revealed the KPCC leadership is of the view that Rahul should contest from a southern state too.
In Ranni in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district, Oommen Chandy said Rahul had expressed his willingness to contest from south India.
"Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad will be announced soon," said Chandy.
Chandy said he had discussed the idea with Congress candidate T Siddique, who was ready to withdraw from the fray to make way for the Congress president to contest from Kerala. Siddique told reporters that he has urged Rahul to contest from Wayanad in his capacity as the Kozhikode DCC president.
Siddique told Onmanorama that he happily accepted the KPCC decision and he was proud to pave way for the party president to contest from here.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also told media that it was a long-time demand of the KPCC and Gandhi would win with a minimum of 5 lakh votes majority. “I talked to the other UDF allies including the IUML and the Kerala Congress. They are also very happy with the decision of the KPCC. Once Rahul Gandhi represents Wayanad, the issues of tribal people and farmers will also get more attention,” Chennithala said.
“A final decision is expected by Sunday,” KPCC president, Mullappally Ramachandran said.
BJP leader Kummanam Rajashekaran said, “Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad as he fears defeat in Amethi.”
“As the Congress is getting wiped out from northern states, Rahul came to Kerala looking for a safe seat and has got assurance from CPM workers to get their support,” alleged Kummanam.
“If Rahul decides to contest from Wayanad, it would unleash a super wave in Kerala,” IUML national general secretary and Mallappuram MP, P K Kunhalikutty said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Rahul's candidature from Wayanad sends out a wrong message by targetting the Left and not the BJP.
“There is no need to change the candidate in Wayanad if Rahul contests,” said CPI state secretary, Kanam Rajendran. P P Suneer of CPI is the LDF candidate from Wayanad.
Earlier many Congress leaders, including V T Balram, had urged Rahul to contest from south India.
"Rahul Gandhi should contest from Wayanad. The concept of India will be strengthened if the next Prime Minister of the country represents south India. Kerala is a land for the idea of neo-politics put forward by Rahul," Thrithala MLA V T Balram wrote in his Facebook post earlier this week.
The Congress will be contesting in the 16 of the 20 seats in the state, of which, candidates for 12 seats have been declared.
The candidates for Wayanad, Vadakara, Alappuzha and Attingal are yet to be announced, though Siddique had commenced his campaign in the constituency.
According to party sources, a consensus has been reached on the candidates for Alappuzha and Attingal, but not for Wayanad and Vatakara.
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M I Shanavas, who passed away recently, had represented Wayanad in the Lok Sabha.
In South India, Wayanad shares border with two other neighbouring states – Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also. It is also one of the sure seat of the Congress in Kerala, other than Ernakulam. A – I group fighting had worsened in Kozhikode after Siddique was selected over the I group leaders here. The irked I group leaders had also demanded the title of Kozhikode DCC president.
The Congress' Karnataka unit too had written to Gandhi inviting him to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the state.
The Congress earlier this month had announced that Rahul Gandhi will contest from his bastion Amethi and Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli. The BJP has fielded Smriti Irani in Amethi.
This is not the first time that the Gandhis are contesting from outside their pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Indira Gandhi had won from Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka in a bypoll in 1978 defeating Janata Party candidate Veerendra Patil.
Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was elected from Bellary, another LS seat in Karnataka, in the 1999 general elections.
Sonia, who had defeated Sushma Swaraj of BJP then, vacated the seat as she had won from Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh too. On the contrary, it could even mar such a prospect.