Thiruvananthapuram: Amethi’s trusted Member of Parliament for the last three Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi gave an unusual twist to his poll portfolio on Thursday by submitting relevant documents to contest from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala.
The Congress president will also contest from Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
Interestingly, the problems that are being discussed in Uttar Pradesh, namely agricultural sector crisis and unemployment, are present in the Wayanad constituency, too. In addition, Wayanad also has a Maoist problem, with police having infrequent face-offs with them.
Rahul’s decision to contest from Kerala is considered a huge morale booster for Congress candidates contesting from other constituencies in Kerala, but the Communist Party of India Marxist has not been pleased about the decision, arguing that by contesting from Kerala, Rahul is taking on the CPM and not the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rahul made his campaign start in Wayanad a memorable one, leading a massive roadshow, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Vadra.
Rahul arrived in Kozhikode late on Wednesday and stayed overnight at the Kozhikode guesthouse. Thousands of people gathered outside the guesthouse and on the roads, many of them hopeful of shaking hands with the leader.
He then took a helicopter ride to a school ground nearby and from there went to the district collectorate to submit his papers for the electoral contest from Wayanad constituency.
He and Priyanka then led a roadshow which attracted thousands. The Congress president and his sister and All India Congress Committee general secretary Priyanka were accompanied by Congress leaders Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala, Mullappally Ramachandran, K.C. Venugopal and several other local leaders.
The Maoist threat in Wayanad and Kozhikode districts is keeping the security forces on their toes. The security fears are more this time, considering that the Congress president himself is contesting from Wayanad.
BJP leaders have criticised Rahul’s decision to contest from Wayanad, pointing out that the Congress president is running scared of voters in Amethi, and the Left leaders have said the Congress president is not sticking to the party’s stated objective of taking on the BJP by contesting from Kerala which is not a BJP stronghold in any sense.