Congress president Rahul Gandhi has agreed to contest from Wayanad parliamentary seat, the party’s bastion in Kerala that borders Karnataka, Kerala Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran said on Saturday.
The Congress leadership had, for weeks, been under pressure from leaders in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to field Gandhi from a constituency in southern India, apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
“Talks were on about this for almost a month. Initially, he (Rahul Gandhi) was not willing. After much persuasion, he agreed” Mullappally Ramachandran said.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Rahul Gandhi was expected to choose from Bangalore Central, Bidar and Mysuru from Karnataka, Kanniyakumari and Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, and Wayanad in Kerala.
Wayanad constituency was carved out in 2008 during the restructuring of constituencies from Kannur, Malappuram and Wayanad constituencies. Congress leader ML Shahnawaz had won the last two elections. He died six months ago after a brief illness.
T Siddiqu, a former Youth Congress president, who had been named as the party’s candidate has already bowed out of the race. At a media briefing in Kozhikode to announce his withdrawal from the election, Siddiqu described his candidature and exit under these circumstances as “an honour for me and the state”.
Congress leaders argue that Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest election from a southern state would impact the morale of party workers across the region, particularly in Kerala and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu Congress chief KS Alagiri, who wanted Gandhi to contest from his state, had predicted that the Congress president would be seen as a leader “connecting the north and south” if he contests from a southern state.
Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother Indira Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi have also contested Lok Sabha elections from the south. Both of them had, however, stuck to Karnataka.
Indira Gandhi contested the Lok Sabha by-elections from Chikmagalur in 1978, and won, a victory that revived her political chances. Two years later, she swept back to power in the 1980 Lok Sabha elections, with the Congress winning 353 seats. However, in 1980, Indira Gandhi represented Rae Bareli.
Following the footsteps of her mother-in-law, soon after joining politics, Sonia Gandhi contested the 1999 Lok Sabha elections from two seats – Bellary in Karnataka and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. She defeated BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj from Bellary and Sanjay Singh from Amethi. She chose to represent Amethi and gave up Bellary.
Mar 23, 2019 13:40 IST
Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad seat in Kerala, says state Congress chief Mullappally Ramachan… – Hindustan Times