Left, BJP slam Congress over Rahul’s Wayanad move
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday attacked the Congress after the party announced that its chief Rahul Gandhi will contest the upcoming national elections from Kerala’s Wayanad apart from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.
While the CPI(M) accused the Congress of trying to weaken Left forces, the ruling party at the Centre said Gandhi had “escaped” to Kerala sensing a defeat in the traditional Congress stronghold. Congress’s M I Shanawas, who won the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2014, passed away last year.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the move proved the Congress’s did not consider the BJP as its real enemy. “If he [Gandhi] was so keen, he should have contested from a seat in Karnataka. We have no plan to withdraw our candidate from Wayanad,” he said.
CPI (M) politburo member Prakash Karat said the decision showed the Congress directly wanted to take on the Left in Kerala. “Their priority now is to fight against the Left in Kerala. It goes against Congress’s national commitment to fight the BJP, as in Kerala it is the LDF [Left Democratic Front ]that is the main force fighting the BJP,” he said.
Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh, BJP chief Amit Shah said the move showed that Gandhi was not confident of retaining Amethi, the seat he represents in Parliament. “Rahul Gandhi has fled to Kerala as he fears that Amethi voters will hold him accountable,” he said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad likened Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad to a captain running away from his sinking ship.
The Congress, however, maintained that move was aimed at strengthening its standing in the upcoming national elections.
“There were many considerations while selecting Wayanad and the foremost one was that it is a tri-junction and borders both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” Congress leader AK Antony said.