BENGALURU: Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday formally invited Congress President Rahul Gandhi to contest from any one of the 20 seats in Karnataka, saying, “Your candidature will not only boost the rank and file of our party in the entire state, but also in South India.’’
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah had tweeted a few days ago, inviting Rahul to contest from the state. Dinesh Gundu Rao’s invitation reminded Rahul that his grandmother Indira Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi were also sent to Parliament by the state. Indira Gandhi was elected from Chikmagalur in a by-election in 1978, and Sonia Gandhi was elected from Bellary in 1999.
Rao said in his invitation that if Rahul decided to contest, it would give the Congress an advantage in South India, but failed to specify how.
However, the invitation did not extend to Rahul’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi, whose seat had not been announced yet by the Congress. There is also no clarity if Priyanka Gandhi would contest.
While Indira Gandhi had scripted her political comeback from Chikkamagaluru in Karnataka after the Emergency by winning the Lok Sabha bypolls in 1978, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had contested and won from Ballari in 1999, trouncing Sushma Swaraj.
Interestingly, the Congress has ceded Chikkamagaluru seat to its alliance partner JD(S) this time, while Ballari remains with the grand old party.
The request comes amid reports about demands within the Congress party for Rahul Gandhi to contest from one of the seats in the South.