New Delhi: Will Congress president Rahul Gandhi contest from two parliamentary constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections? Media reports say Rahul is actively considering contesting from Kerala’s Wayanad seat, apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Kerala state unit president Mullappally Ramachandran told Hindustan Times that, “talks were on about this for almost a month. Initially, he was not willing. After much persuasion, he has agreed”.
Though the Congress has officially announced his candidature from Amethi, no formal communication has been made about Rahul contesting from Kerala.
Congress general secretary Oommen Chandy, however, said that Rahul is yet to respond to the state unit’s offer for the Wayanad seat. Speaking to news agency ANI, Chandy said: “We have requested Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest from one of the seats in Kerala. The seat on offer is Wayanad. Rahul Gandhi’s response is expected anytime today.”
A report on NDTV quoted Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala as saying: “Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has sent their desire that Rahul Gandhi should contest from Wayanad constituency. We thank them for the love and respect, Rahulji has always said that Amethi will remain his Karam bhoomi. Rahulji will positively consider the request of KPCC.”
Wayanad is a traditional Congress stronghold. Reports suggest there is a rift in the party’s state unit as different groups are claiming their stake on the seat.
Kerala sends 20 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The Congress-led UDF and CPM-led LDF are pitted against each other to wrest as many seats.
Should Rahul decide to contest from Wayanad, it will not be the first time the Congress leadership will be fighting from south India. Indira Gandhi had got re-elected from Chikmagalur in Karnataka in 1978. Her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi fought the elections from Bellary in the state in 1999, an epic battle in which she trounced the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj.