Priyanka’s Wayanad move set to energise Congress

The decision also highlights the family’s continued commitment to Wayanad, a seat that helped Rahul Gandhi retain his MP position amid the BJP’s surge in the 2019 elections.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka GandhiPhoto | PTI

KOCHI: After a longstanding association with Amethi and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, Wayanad in Kerala too has earned a special place in the heart of the Gandhi family with the announcement of Priyanka Gandhi’s electoral debut from the Lok Sabha constituency.

The decision also highlights the family’s continued commitment to Wayanad, a seat that helped Rahul Gandhi retain his MP position amid the BJP’s surge in the 2019 elections.

Congress leaders believe Priyanka’s involvement will energise the Congress-led UDF, which is seeking a strong resurgence in Kerala following their substantial victory in the recent general elections.

While Rahul’s candidacy in the 2019 elections took many by surprise, the 52-year-old Priyanka’s nomination is not unexpected as her name had been circulating as a potential candidate if Rahul decided to vacate the seat.

Congress leaders anticipate that Priyanka’s presence will significantly impact state politics. It may also influence the upcoming Chelakkara and Palakkad assembly bypolls. They see Priyanka’s candidacy as a demonstration of the Gandhi family’s continued trust in the people of Wayanad.

Given the evolving political landscape in India, Rahul needed to concentrate on north India, prompting him to hand over the responsibility of Wayanad to his sister, Priyanka.

“Rahul Gandhi and the party have entrusted Priyanka Gandhi with Wayanad. We welcome her warmly. She will secure a record-breaking victory,” said Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan.

Over the past decade, Priyanka has constantly faced questions on her parliamentary debut. When Rahul was caught in a dilemma over choosing Wayanad or Rae Bareli, the onus fell on him to convince his younger sister to step into his shoes. Even when the Congress state leadership put pressure on him to retain the Wayanad seat, they were in effect clearing the path for Priyanka to take over the mantle from him.

Priyanka’s entry is also expected to fortify the Congress’s alliance with the IUML, which had previously suggested that she contest from Wayanad if Rahul vacated the seat.

IUML state general secretary P M A Salam told TNIE that Priyanka’s candidacy will add might to the secularist forces’ efforts.

“Definitely, it will be a major boost for the allies in the INDIA bloc and the UDF. The people of Kerala are grateful to Rahul Gandhi for having handed over the constituency to his sister,” Salam said.

“Priyanka’s presence in Kerala will greatly bolster the UDF,” IUML state president Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal had said soon after the Congress leadership made the announcement in New Delhi on Monday.

Thangal also noted that Priyanka’s presence in the Parliament would boost the morale of secular democratic forces. According to IUML leaders, Priyanka’s involvement in the current political climate will pose a significant challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Parliament. 

(With inputs from Cynthia Chandran/T’Puram)

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