Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers from Kerala’s Wayanad seat
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday filed his nomination papers from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, the second constituency he is contesting apart from his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, for the Lok Sabha election 2019.
Gandhi, who was accompanied by sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is now scheduled to hold a roadshow.
A recently-formed constituency, Wayanad Lok Sabha seat is a Congress stronghold and will go to polls on April 23 along with all the 20 others in the southern state.
The constituency was carved out from Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur during the restructuring of constituencies in 2008. Congress’ MI Shanawas, who won the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2014, died last year.
Rahul Gandhi will fight against Communist Party of India’s (CPI’s) PP Suneer and National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) Thushar Vellapally in Wayanad. Vellappally is the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president and his party has an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala.
The Communist Party of India(Marxist) or CPI(M) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have criticised the Congress over Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest the Lok Sabha election 2019 from Wayanad. 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.
WATCH: ‘Amethi abandoned’: Smriti’s charge as Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad
Political pundits say Rahul Gandhi’s selection of Wayanad constituency, a strategically important trijunction in Kerala which shares borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, will help the Congress to consolidate its position in the south and pip the BJP’s possible advantage in north India.
The BJP is planning to rope in many national leaders for its campaign in the constituency. Top among them is Union minister Smriti Irani, Gandhi’s main rival in Amethi. Irani is likely to campaign for NDA’s Wayanad candidate Vellapally for two days, party leaders said.
Party leaders have said Rahul Gandhi will visit Wayanad again once or twice for campaigning after filing his nomination papers and that general secretary Priyanka Gandhi will canvass in the constituency for a couple of days.
Rahul Gandhi has become the third member of the Gandhi family to select a second seat from south India. His grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi had contested from Chikmagalur in Karnataka in 1978 and his mother and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi fought from Bellary in the same state in 1998.
The votes will be counted on May 23.