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In Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad visit, Cong leaders look for a hint on party plans

The roadshows in Wayanad are the Congress president’s first public appearance after the meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, where he told party leaders to look for his replacement because he didn’t want to continue in the hot seat.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2019 19:42 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Kozhikode
rahul in Kerala,Rahul Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi in Kerala
The Congress chief was seen making his way through the roads of Wayanad in an open truck and reaching his hand out to greet supporters. (RG Wayanad office/Twitter)

Rahul Gandhi, who has been adamant on stepping down as Congress president, made his first public appearance in Kerala’s Wayanad – smiling and shaking hands of his cheering supporters – as his vehicle crawled through the constituency’s narrow streets.

Gandhi landed in Kozikode early on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by posters and banners proclaiming “We are with you, Rahul”.

He will spend three days in the constituency that has sent him to Lok Sabha with a margin of over 4.3 lakh votes – a state record – a victory that was otherwise soured by his defeat in the Congress stronghold Amethi and his party’s humiliating performance in the national elections.

WATCH | Rahul Gandhi’s thanksgiving visit to Wayanad after LS victory from the seat

Also read | PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi to visit Kerala this weekend at the same time

In his interactions, Rahul Gandhi promised people that his doors would always remain open for them.

“No matter which party you come from, overwhelmingly you have given me your support. My door is open to every single citizen of Wayanad. As I am MP from Kerala, it is my responsibility to raise not only issues of Wayanad’s people but also the people of Kerala in the Lok Sabha,” Rahul Gandhi - who also stopped at a shop for a cup of tea - said, according to news agency ANI.

The roadshows in Wayanad are the Congress president’s first public appearance after the meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, where he told party leaders to look for his replacement because he didn’t want to continue in the hot seat.

The CWC did promptly reject the offer and gave him a free hand to restructure the party. But 13 days later, there has been no clarity if he had revised his stand.

This week, Rahul Gandhi’s party did ask all state units to list the reasons why, according to their assessment, the party lost. This assessment would have to be pretty detailed and incorporate the reasons for the loss from the booth level.

Rahul Gandhi has mostly kept to himself and only met a select group of party leaders on rare occasions after the CWC meeting.

That is why many Congress leaders in Delhi and elsewhere are closely tracking his Wayanad visit to see if they spot hints about his future plans. Or may be, a public statement.

Like his tweet early this morning before he took the flight to Kerala.

“I will be in Wayanad, Kerala starting this afternoon and till Sunday to meet citizens & Congress Party workers. It’s a packed schedule with over 15 public receptions planned over the next 3 days,” the Congress chief tweeted.

Rahul Gandhi’s first programme was at Kalikavu in Malappuram district. Gandhi’s Twitter handle for the constituency put out a short video of the massive crowd that “fills the streets with excitement on the arrival of their newly-elected MP”.

Congress leaders in his constituency hope the visit to boost the morale of the party workers to fight Assembly bypolls. “He will also take part in roadshows at Nilambur and Eranad,” senior Congress leader and Wandoor MLA AP Anil Kumar told PTI.

He will be accorded reception at Kalpetta, Kambalkadu, Panamaram, Mananthavadi, Pulpally and Sultan Batheri and will also attend a roadshow in Kozhikode Assembly constituency on June 9, before leaving for Delhi, the news agency said.

First Published: Jun 07, 2019 07:39 IST