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Left unhappy with Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad outing, says will ensure defeat

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Kerala’s Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency has riled the Left parties. They believe that it is a ploy by the party to queer the pitch for the Left in the upcoming elections.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 31, 2019 12:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.
Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.(PTI file photo)
         

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Kerala’s Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency has riled the Left parties. They believe that it is a ploy by the party to queer the pitch for the Left in the upcoming elections.

Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has said that the party’s decision to field Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad shows that their priority now is to fight the Left in Kerala.

“It goes against Congress’ national commitment to fight BJP, as in Kerala it’s LDF which is the main force fighting BJP there. To pick a candidate like Rahul Gandhi against the 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.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference organised in New Delhi, senior Congress leader AK Antony had announced that apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress president would also contest from the north Kerala seat of Wayanad. This comes in the wake of demands from party workers in the southern state for the Congress president to contest from the Wayanad seat. Wayanad is a Congress bastion and the party has assured the central leadership that all that the Congress president needs to do is file his nominations and that the party would ensure his victory.

Also read | Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad apart from Amethi, announces Congress

Reacting to news of Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad, Kerala chief minister Pinnarayi Vijayan said that he should have picked a seat from where the BJP was contesting.

“He’s fighting in one of the 20 constituencies (in Kerala) and doesn’t need to be seen as any different. We’ll fight him. He should’ve contested from a constituency where BJP is contesting, it’s nothing but a fight against Left,” Vijayan said.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) has fielded CPI’s PP Suneer from the seat. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has given the Wayanad seat to its ally Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sangam (BDJS) as part of its seat sharing deal. The BDJS has, however, said that if Rahul Gandhi contests from Wayanad, it will vacate the seat for the BJP.

The NDA has started scouting for a formidable candidate to pit against the Congress president.

“I am in touch with the national leaders. We will take a decision by evening,” said BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai. Earlier there were speculations that Union Minister Smriti Irani, who is contesting against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, may contest from Wayanad also but the party had later denied it.

Also read | ‘Just file nominations,’ elated Congress workers certain of Rahul Gandhi’s victory from Wayanad

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First Published: Mar 31, 2019 12:48 IST