Congress upbeat as Rahul to take guard from Wayanad too

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi will contest from the Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh too. File photo

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, Congress Working Committee member A K Antony confirmed on Sunday.

Earlier this week, following intense speculation, Rahul had not ruled out contesting from a second Lok Sabha seat in this general election.

The party chief will contest from the Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh too.

Many party leaders, including Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi, have fought elections from more than one seat in the past. 

Rahul had kept his options open on fighting the election from a second seat amid demands from party units in Kerala and Karnataka that he should be fielded from south.

Wayanad Lok Sabha Constituency | Elections 2019

In the National Democratic Alliance, the Wayanad seat has now been allotted to the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS). BDJS president Thushar Vellapally has conveyed willingness to swap the seat with the BJP if the saffron party so desires.

In the LDF, the CPI is contesting the Wayanad seat.

"I am deeply grateful for the love, affection and the sentiments expressed by our party workers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala who have asked me to contest a second seat from their states," the Congress chief had told PTI in response to a question on the speculation over him contesting from Wayanad in Kerala. 

"In the past, too, many leaders from the Congress and other parties, including Modi himself, have contested elections from more than one seat," he said. 

Wayanad Lok Sabha Constituency

AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy had made known earlier this month that the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee had requested Rahul to contest from Wayanad apart from Amethi.

Earlier, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had also said Rahul will be contesting from a seat that in a way represents three southern states.

"It will be a message of unity of the the north and the south," he said.

Nehru-Gandhi Family in Elections

Amid the delay in an announcement in this regard, Chandy later played down the matter saying that he never conclusively stated that the Congress president will contest from Kerala. The party, which is contesting 16 out of 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, announced the names of 14 candidates but had not declared its candidates from Wayanad and Vadakara. 

The delay in announcing Rahul's candidature had caused heartburn among UDF constituents, with the Indian Union Muslim League informing the Congress that the protracted delay in announcing a decision would  adversely impact the chances of all UDF candidates in Kerala.

Surjewala accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of causing divisions and said that the lives of people in south India was important to the Congress.

He also said that Rahul has "family ties" with Amethi and the "BJP's dirty conspiracies cannot break it".

Asked which seat Rahul will retain if he wins both in Amethi and Wayanad, Surjewala said that when the Congress forms a government following the polls, the party president will represent the entire country.

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