Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been asked to contest from Wayanad by The Congress in Kerala. The party members are awaiting Rahul Gandhi’s reply.
Wayanad: The Congress in Kerala has proposed AICC president Rahul Gandhi's name for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, a party bastion in the State, but he has yet to respond to the request, senior leaders said on March 23.
Talking to reporters in Pathanamthitta district, AICC General Secretary Oommen Chandy said the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has requested Rahul to contest from Wayanad but he has not commented on the proposal.
There is a demand from party leaders that Rahul should contest from any of the South Indian Lok Sabha seat and "we have requested Rahul to contest from Wayanad seat," he said.
"He has not commented on the request so far. But we expect that there would be a positive response," Chandy said.
The party, which is contesting 16 out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, has announced the names of 14 candidates but has not declared its candidates from Wayanad and Vadakara.
At Kottayam, the leader of opposition in the State Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala said he had requested Rahul to contest from Wayanad when the Congress president visited Kerala recently to launch the party's election campaign.
He also said the matter was discussed with senior party leaders including A K Antony. "I once again request Rahul to contest from Wayanad. Congress president contesting from Lok Sabha seats in South India and North India will strengthen national unity and integration," Chennithala said.
Rahul's candidature from Wayanad will energise the Congress party in South India and thus the party can win majority of seats from the region, the leaders said.
Wayanad is a traditional Congress stronghold and the party is certain of its win from the seat. However, this time trouble erupted after two groups within the party fought to contest from here.
This tug-of-war happened between a group led by former CM Oommen Chandy and another led by Ramesh Chennithala.
The Congress had earlier proposed T Siddique, the Kozhikode DCC president, for the Wayanad seat but he has backed out. Siddique said he also wants Rahul to contest from the Wayanad seat.
Several Congress leaders from the South have been persistently inviting Rahul to contest from their respective states.
Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao asked Rahuli to contest from the state of Karnataka, the Kerala Congress too had been trying to gauge Rahul’s poll strategy in a bid to have him contest from the Wayanad constituency.
The Congress state units in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have also demanded that the party president contest the Lok Sabha elections from the respective states.
The Congress earlier this month had announced that Rahul Gandhi will contest from his bastion Amethi and Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi had defeated Smriti Irani by a margin of over one lakh votes. However, his victory was far less impressive than in most earlier Lok Sabha elections in Amethi.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi defeated Smriti Irani by a margin of over one lakh votes. However, his victory was far less impressive than in most earlier Lok Sabha elections in Amethi.
The Congress's vote share was reduced to 46 per cent in 2014 as against its earlier shares of 71 and 66 per cent in the 2009 and 2004 elections, respectively.
The BJP, whose vote share in Amethi remained in the single digits in 2004, garnered 37% of the votes cast in 2014.
Amethi has long been a stronghold of the Congress, which hasn't been defeated here in the last three decades barring 1998, when the BJP's Sanjay Singh defeated Satish Sharma of the Congress by a margin of 23,270 votes. Amethi was regained by the Congress in 1999 when Sonia Gandhi was elected as MP.
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Last Updated Mar 23, 2019, 5:35 PM IST