Rahul Gandhi’s move to contest in Rae Bareli disappoints Wayanad

Uncertainty among party leaders whether he will relinquish Wayanad if he wins Rae Bareli
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul GandhiPhoto | Express

KOCHI: The Congress decision to field Rahul Gandhi in the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh has elicited mixed feelings within the party’s state unit. There is uncertainty among party leaders regarding whether he will step down from the Wayanad LS seat if he is elected from Rae Bareli, considered a stronghold of the Gandhi family. This has led to heated debates, with the BJP and LDF accusing Rahul of betraying the people of Wayanad. There is a prevailing belief within the Congress party that if he wins both seats, he is likely to vacate the Wayanad seat. However, there is also optimism that his contest in the Hindi heartland will bolster the party’s prospects in North India.

While party leaders feel it is premature to discuss which seat he would retain, the lingering question is whether he will vacate Wayanad and who will be his successor in Wayanad. The name of AICC general secretary and his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, is being reported as a possible successor if Rahul abandons the seat. However, senior party leaders are reluctant to comment on the matter.

Congress national general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal stated that the party will decide which seat Rahul Gandhi will retain at the appropriate time. “The party requested Rahul Gandhi to contest from Rae Bareli and he agreed. For us, Rae Bareli, Amethi, and Wayanad are all important. Rae Bareli is the seat which was held by Indira Gandhi and till recently by Sonia Gandhi. At the appropriate time, the party will decide which seat he will retain. The decision will not affect anyone,” Venugopal told mediapersons.

Political observers believe that Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest in UP will boost the morale of the party as Left leaders argue that he will focus on fighting the BJP in North India rather than contesting against INDIA bloc allies in Kerala.

According to K Baburaj, a senior journalist and political observer, Congress activists in UP and other North Indian states are expecting Rahul’s presence, which will boost their morale. “However, the decision has left his supporters in Kerala, especially in Wayanad, unhappy as they worked hard for his victory in 2019. They also supported him when his MP post was suspended,” he said. If Rahul wins, he is likely to retain Raebareli due to its historical connection with the Gandhi family, it is learned.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
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Wayanad is considered a safe seat of UDF. So the front can win if a re-election happens. Abandoning Raebareli would be seen as suicidal to Congress, according to Baburaj.

A senior Congress leader told TNIE that there were speculations during the 2019 campaign that Rahul would abandon Wayanad if elected from Amethi. “However, he won with a huge margin of more than 4 lakh votes, a record in the state’s election history. This time, Wayanad recorded a lower voter turnout compared to 2019, which might lead to a slight decline in his majority, but the voters are expected to stand by him. The party will take an appropriate decision at the right time and commenting on the issue at this stage will be too early,” he added.

Chances of Rahul Gandhi contesting from the second seat was the topic of a heated campaign in Wayanad this time too.

Fight against BJP

  •  Chances of Rahul contesting from second seat was the topic of a heated campaign in Wayanad.

  •  Political observers believe that his decision to contest in UP will boost the morale of the party as Left leaders argue that he will focus on fighting the BJP in North India.

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