Lok Sabha secretariat decision puts focus back on Wayanad
A UDF stronghold, the Wayanad constituency, which came into being after delimitation, has stood by Congress for long.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lok Sabha secretariat’s decision disqualifying Rahul Gandhi has now brought the political focus on his constituency — Wayanad. If Rahul doesn’t get a favourable verdict from a higher court, Wayanad will soon witness a bypoll, with more than a year remaining for general elections.
There are reports that if the Election Commission decides to hold by-elections in Wayanad, it’s likely to be held along with the Karnataka assembly polls, the announcement of which would be made in April.
In 2019, there was quite a flutter in state politics when Rahul shifted base from Amethi to contest in Wayanad. The Left parties had openly lashed out against the decision, as they felt it defeats the very purpose of a united fight against BJP at the national level. Rahul’s candidature was reflected in the LS polls across the state with UDF winning 19 out of 20 seats.
A UDF stronghold, the Wayanad constituency, which came into being after delimitation, has stood by Congress for a long. Rahul won the 2019 Lok Sabha election by defeating CPI’s P P Suneer by a margin of more than 4.31 lakh votes. While Rahul polled close to 7.06 lakh (64.67%) votes, Suneer could garner only 2.74 lahks (25.14%) votes.
It was the sitting constituency of late M I Shanavas who had won from the segment twice. In 2014, CPI’s Sathyan Mokeri gave a good fight by polling 3.56 lakh (38.92 %) votes against Congress’ M I Shanavas who won by 3.77 lahks (41.20 %) votes. That was the closest between the two fronts in recent elections.
Before that, in 2009, Shanavas had won by 4.10 lakh (49.86%) votes while his closest rival CPI’s M Rahmathulla had polled just around 2.57 lakh (31.23%) votes. This time, however, then NCP leader K Muraleedharan had polled close to one lakh (12.10%) votes. The BJP has always trailed far behind the other two fronts here.
Though neither the LDF nor the UDF has started discussions, in case of a bypoll, a strong political fight is in the offing. The CPI, which holds the Wayanad seat in the LDF government, is likely to opt for a senior leader.
Wayanad is one of the four LS seats allotted to the party. Though the party had earlier won from other LS seats like Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Mavelikkara, Wayanad has always been a distant dream. “The party hasn’t held any such discussions at this point.
However, in the past, Sathyan Mokeri was able to reach a close second in 2014. So, it’s likely that the party may go for someone who can put up a decent fight,” said a senior CPI leader. Meanwhile, the Rahul episode could throw open certain new permutations and combinations over seat sharing within both fronts in 2024.
Dweep MP’s case an indicator of things to come
The case of Lakshadweep’s disqualified MP Mohammed Faizal P P could be an indicator of the possible direction things would move in the Rahul episode. The NCP MP was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a Kavarathi court on January 11. He was soon disqualified as Lok Sabha MP. Later the Kerala High Court suspended the trial court verdict. Following this, the Election Commission deferred bypolls in the constituency.
Protest erupts in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency
The Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency on Friday witnessed several protests by Congress workers against the disqualification of Rahul. The workers held protests in Kalpetta, Mananthavady, Sultan Bathery and Meenangadi town. Police detained seven protesters who blocked the road near the MP’s office.
‘Bid to suppress Rahul’s voice’
Malappuram: Hours after the Lok Sabha secretariat disqualified Rahul Gandhi, the IUML came out in support of him. IUML state president Syed Sadik Ali Thangal said the party will support the fight of the Congress. “The move is an attempt to suppress Rahul’s voice. The BJP thinks that it will be difficult for it to retain power. That is why it is trying to suppress the Opposition’s voices,” he said.