KOCHI: Ending days of suspense, the Congress on Sunday announced party president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad - his second seat after Amethi - energising party workers in Kerala but angering the Left Front, which said it would send a wrong signal on the status of opposition unity against the BJP.
Eight days after Rahul’s name was first proposed by the Kerala unit, senior Congress leader A K Antony broke the Wayanad news in New Delhi.
The party hopes to consolidate its electoral base in the South through Rahul’s entry, as Wayanad borders both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, he said.
“Congress president Rahulji coming to Wayanad is a dream come true for all the Congress workers in Kerala. This will give the Congress 20/20 in the state,” said KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran alluding to the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala.
Ramesh Chennithala, leader of the Opposition, said: “It is the first time a prime ministerial candidate is contesting from Kerala. So Kerala and Wayanad will become the centre of attraction in national politics in the coming days. Rahul Gandhi, who is fighting for Dalits, adivasis and against farmers suicide, will bring a change in Wayanad.”
The Left and the BJP, however, were not amused. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that Rahul can win from Amethi as the possibility of a BJP victory was slim.
As for the BJP, its chief Amit Shah mocked Rahul at a rally in UP, saying he has left Amethi and run away to Kerala because he knows voters will seek account from him in Amethi this time.
CPM: Rahul move will send wrong message
T’Puram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also a CPM politburo member, said the Left Front would try and defeat Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. “Rahul should’ve fought from a constituency where the BJP has strength and not from Wayanad as it would send a wrong message to voters across the nation,” said Pinarayi.