In pics: In a first, Priyanka Gandhi campaigns in Kerala ahead of polls
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday kickstarted her campaign for the first time in south India with an election rally and corner meetings scheduled for her in poll-bound Kerala. Gandhi will canvass for her party’s candidates on Wednesday as well.
The Congress is hoping to wrest power in Kerala, where it swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by winning 15 out of 20 seats even as it lost the national polls for the second time in a row. Congress’s allies won four seats out of the remaining five in Kerala in 2019.
In the last assembly polls, Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) lost in Kerala after a resurgent Left notched up an emphatic victory with the state repeating its history of booting out incumbent governments. The Left Democratic Front (UDF) won 91 seats in the 140-member house as the scam-ridden UDF was reduced to 47 seats with many incumbent ministers failing to win from their constituencies.
Congress' loss was precipitated by mounting corruption charges against chief minister Oommen Chandy and the brutal rape and murder of a Dalit law student in the midst of poll campaigning, experts pointed out.
Seated atop a moving vehicle along with Aritha Babu, the Congress candidate from Kayamkulam, Priyanka clad in a yellow salwar kameez, waved to the jostling crowd of people lined up on both sides of the road and also shook hands with many enthusiastic voters.
The meetings, which coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaigning in Kerala on Tuesday, signal a larger political responsibility for Priyanka Gandhi. The Congress general secretary has largely been focussing on Uttar Pradesh, where her party has been out of power for over three decades.
Gandhi also addressing a public meeting at Karunagapally and held road shows at Kottarakkara and Kollam, before leaving for neighbouring Thiruvananthapuram. Gandhi will address a meeting at Venjaramoodu and hold roadshows at various places including coastal Poonthura. A public meeting will also be held at the coastal hamlet of Valiyathura.