selected Kerala’s Wayanad constituency
+ to be his second seat for the Lok Sabha polls.
While the CPM said that Rahul’s decision to contest from Wayanad is a direct challenge to the Left, the BJP argued that by choosing to contest from Wayanad, Rahul has proven that he is not confident of winning from Amethi. The Congress defended the decision, saying that as the “future Prime Minister of the country”, Rahul wants to establish his presence in south India as well.
BJP president Amit Shah said that Rahul Gandhi has fled to Kerala as he fears that Amethi voters will seek an account from him. Referring to the Congress president as a “Chunavi Hindu”, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the only reason the constituency of Wayanad was chosen was because of its “low Hindu” population.
“The Hindu population in Wayanad is below 49% and Rahul Gandhi considers it a safe seat. Rahul Gandhi is only a Hindu for the elections. “Rahul Gandhi’s lies and fake narratives have been exposed and that has shaken his roots in Amethi. That’s why he ran to Wayanad,” he tweeted.
Feeling unsafe, unsure and facing defeat in Amethi Rahul Gandhi seeks a safe miniority dominated seat in #Wayanad K… https://t.co/zZDAs6J20C
— Chowkidar Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) 1554034097000
The Left was equally critical of Rahul’s decision. CPM leader and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Rahul should have fought against the BJP and his decision is “nothing but a fight against the Left”.
“He’s fighting in one of the twenty constituencies (in Kerala) and doesn’t need to be seen as any different. We’ll fight him. He should have contested from a constituency where BJP is contesting, it’s nothing but a fight against Left,” he said.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat seconded Vijayan’s remark. “To pick a candidate like Rahul Gandhi against Left means that Congress is going to target the Left in Kerala. This is something which we will strongly oppose and in this election, we will work to ensure the defeat of Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad,” Karat said.
We Will Work to Defeat UDF in All Constituencies Including Wayanad: Prakash Karat on decision of the Congress to fi… https://t.co/mHfU9NAtqc
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) 1554017812000
The same sentiments were echoed by the Aam Aadmi Party as well. AAP leader Gopal Rai argued that the decision reflects the confused state of Congress’s strategy. “There appears to be a contradiction between the publicly stated strategy of the Congress of getting rid of the Modi government and its intentions. Instead of concentrating attention on removing a dictatorial and anti-federal regime, Congress seems to be dividing the votes where anti-BJP forces are strong. Look at what the Congress is doing in UP, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh” the AAP leader said.
Referring to the apparent failure of AAP and Congress to reach a deal on the seat-sharing pact in the capital, Rai said there seems to be confusion within the Congress party on whether it wants to defeat the BJP or not.
The Congress countered the argument by advocating that Wayanad will provide Rahul with a pan-India exposure and help the party consolidate its position in south India.
Congress leader and former law minister Ashwani Kumar said other party leaders cannot dictate from which parliamentary constituency Rahul should contest polls or not. “It is entirely up to each party to decide from where its leaders will contest. It is not the first time a leader is contesting election from two parliamentary constituencies. The present Prime Minister himself had contested from two constituencies,” he said.
Senior Congress leader PC Chacko explained the idea behind Rahul contesting two parliamentary constituencies for the first time.
“Mr Gandhi’s decision to contest from a constituency in the south and from his traditional constituency Amethi will create a huge resonance for the party throughout the country. That seems to be the real vision. I am absolutely confident that Rahul Gandhi will win both the seats. Amethi is not a difficult seat but as the future Prime Minister of the country he wants to establish his presence in south India as well,” said Chacko.
Earlier today, senior Congress leader AK Antony had announced that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Kerala’s Wayanad apart from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, which is considered to be his home turf.
Antony said that the decision was taken after party leaders from the southern states unanimously requested Rahul to contest from South India.
Highlighting the reasons behind the selection of Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Antony said, “While selecting Wayanad, there were many considerations including the fact that Wayanad connects three states of South India namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, speaking at the same media briefing, accused BJP of attacking traditions and cultures of different regions of India and asserted that Rahul’s representation from the Wayanad seat will further strengthen the unity of North and South.
“At present, the culture, tradition and food habits of different states are under attack by BJP and Modi government. The three states of Southern India hence demanded that there is a connection between North and South, and Rahul Gandhi should contest from the South as well. Hence, Rahul has decided to represent the Southern state for it is an important part of India’s way of life and India’s way forward. He will strengthen the unity of North and South,” added Surjewala.
Responding to a question on BJP’s allegation that the Congress president was not confident in Amethi which is why he is contesting from a second seat, Surjewala said: “Why did Modi ji leave Gujarat and contest from Varanasi? Was he not confident in Gujarat? These are immature and childish comments. First, she (Union Minister Smriti Irani) lost in Chandni Chowk then in Amethi and now she will complete a hat-trick of losses.”
(With inputs from agencies)
Rahul’s decision to pick Wayanad draws sharp reactions from Left, Right – Times of India