How far can Rahul match expectations of Wayanad voters?

How far can Rahul match expectations of Wayanad voters?
Rahul Gandhi

Kalpetta: In his first public appearance outside Delhi after Congress lost again to the BJP in the general election, party president Rahul Gandhi received an overwhelming reception from the voters of the  Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency who elected him. However, it has to be seen how far he can nurture the constituency especially when his own party is out of power both in Kerala and at the centre.

For Rahul, the rousing welcome and the astounding public participation in the dozen roadshows held across the constituency during his three-day visit last weekend was an altogether different experience, say Congress leaders here.

Rahul, who had announced his resignation as party chief soon after the disappointing Lok Sabha results came out on May 23, is reportedly reluctant to entertain calls or meeting from party leaders from across the country. However, the electrifying public support as was evident in the public meetings here in Kerala was an eye-opener to the scion of the Gandhi family.

Before he started his return journey from here on Sunday, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran met him and requested to continue in the president's post. However, it is learnt that he did not react to the request in the meeting at a rest house here.

But, Rahul cannot easily escape the burden of expectations the people of Wayanad have imposed on him. The long queue of petitioners in front of the proposed office of the MP when he arrived for the roadshow is a testimony to this. He promised to consider their petitions carefully. He is also planning to launch interactive programmes in each ward of the Wayanad constituency and directly listen to the woes of the people here.

But, the fund allotment to a Member of Parliament (MP) is limited, and leaders here fear that would be a hindrance to the Congress president. (MPs initiate or contribute to development works in their constituencies with funds allotted under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.)

Rahul had won with a margin of over 4 lakh votes from the Wayanad seat even as he lost from his traditional seat, Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh. Many voters here had cast votes in favour of him, a candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front, hoping that he could become 'the next prime minister'.

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