CPI likely to request Rahul Gandhi to not contest from Wayanad seat

Rahul Gandhi addressing a gathering at Kalpetta, Wayanad. File photo: Facebook/@rahulgandhi

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala unit of the CPI is likely to ask Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to not contest from Wayanad constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

A decision to this effect was taken at the just-concluded national leadership meet of the CPI. The decision will now be officially conveyed to the Congress.

According to the sources, the CPI wants Gandhi to contest against a BJP candidate. The CPI believes that since it is a full fledged ally of the Congress-led I.N.D.I.A political front, the grand-old party should ensure that Gandhi does not contest from Wayanad.

In Kerala, the CPI is the second largest ally of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front. The CPI has contested in the Wayanad seat, since its formation in 2009. In all the three previous elections, the Congress candidate has won from the constituency. In 2019, Gandhi won with a staggering margin of over 4.31 lakh votes.

Of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the CPI will contest from four. In the 2019 polls, it had suffered a massive defeat, when the Congress-led UDF won 19 seats. One of the reasons for the defeat is considered to be Gandhi's decision to contest from Wayanad.

Dismissing the suggestion, CPI(M)'s central committee member and former State Minister AK Balan stated that the decision to contest has been taken by the concerned political parties only.

Meanwhile, State Congress president K.Sudhakaran said that CPI or for that matter any 'ally' cannot decide on what other parties should do. "Gandhi will contest from Wayanad itself," he asserted.

Responding to the media over CPI's move opposing Rahul Gandhi's candidacy, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal declared that the election committee of the party will decide on the candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

(With IANS inputs.)

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