Rahul Gandhi as the Congress candidate from Wayanad now seems like a possibility which is gaining momentum.
It was AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy who dropped the bombshell to reporters.
In what seemed to be an orchestrated move Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and T Siddique, the Congress candidate who started campaigning from Wayanad though the candidate has not been officially announced there, backed the move.
Chandy said in no uncertain terms that Rahul has expressed his willingness to contest.
That such a move is being contemplated gains credence from the fact that AICC has kept the seat vacant along with Vadakara, Alappuzha and Attingal.
If Rahul's candidature is announced in Wayanad, it will definitely boost the prospects of the Congress in Kerala as well as other southern states. Traditionally, the electorate in the state has backed the Congress-led coalitions in Lok Sabha .
Remember, Modi's candidature from Uttar Pradesh had an electrifying effect in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, though the context was different. BJP and allies swept 73 of the 80 seats from UP last time.
The Congress senses a chance to get a stint in power this time around, going by its aggressive posturing against the NDA government.
It has also unleashed Priyanka as a trump card.
In Kerala, the entry of Rahul will most certainly boost the prospects of the Congress-led United Democratic Front in all 20 seats.
A potential prime ministerial candidate from the state would have an electrifying presence among the electorate.
Wayanad is a traditional UDF and Congress seat though the winning margin had slipped last time from over 1.5 lakh to just over 20,000 votes.
But that was mainly due to a combination of local factors and the Modi wave in 2014.
But with Rahul as candidate, there would be no impediment to increase the margin.
Rahul Gandhi had also stepped up his diatribe against Modi by pointing out to the agrarian distress in the country.
So contesting from a predominantly agrarian constituency like Wayand would be in sync with the Congress' self-proclaimed goals including farm loan waivers, which aided the party in the assembly polls to five states held late last year.
The Congress also expects a spill over effect of Rahul Gandhi's probable candidature in neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
It will also trumpet the Congress president as a potential PM candidate with a pan-India appeal, a la Modi.
The candidature will also lay to rest the squabbles in the Congress over seat sharing and the internecine turf wars among UDF constituents.
The main opposition LDF would also find it difficult to raise the pitch against the UDF candidates in such a scenario. The LDF had won four of the seven assembly segments in the last assembly polls. It also controls 29 of the 50 local bodies. The Wayanad constituency is spread over Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram districts.
The BJP would be forced to do a rethink and rope in a heavyweight to contest from a seat in Kerala.
Already, there is a mystery surrounding the BJP's candidate in Pathanamthitta, which houses the hill shrine of Sabarimala. The BJP was hoping to cash in on its agitation to overturn an apex court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine.
If Rahul is in the fray, such debates surrounding women's entry and related issues will be laid to rest.
This is a state where the Congress led by Indira Gandhi came out with a stunning performance in the elections immediately after the Emergency was lifted, when it was almost decimated in all other states.
Indira Gandhi had won from Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka in a bypoll in 1978. (She defeated Janata Party candidate Veerendra Patil). Her daughter-in-law and then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was elected from Bellary, another LS seat in Karnataka, in the 1999 general elections. Sonia, who had defeated Sushma Swaraj of BJP, then vacated the seat as she had won from Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh too.
Will He, Won't He?
A similar demand was raised by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Prominent leaders including former chief minister Siddharamaiah wanted Rahul to contest from there.
Some Congress leaders there even went to town announcing Rahul's candidature in Karnataka, a move construed as a pressure tactic by the AICC leadership.
The move is apparently now a frozen file in the AICC headquarters.
There is mounting pressure on Rahul to contest from a southern state and the AICC is aware of the positive impact such a move can trigger.
But the national equations also need to be taken into consideration.
The Congress president would be taking up a direct fight with the CPM-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala if he plunges into a contest here.
That could be detrimental in stitching a post-poll arrangement in case the Congress-led coalition comes closer to clinching power.
This factor could weigh against Rahul's candidature from Kerala. Numbers may not add up as per arithmetic progression in politics. One plus one need not be two in political math.
Or, in other words, Amethi plus Wayanad do not maketh a UPA government.
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