In a first, Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest kerala’s Wayanad seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
It would be Gandhi’s second seat besides Gandhi family’s traditional Amethi seat in key northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Veteran Congress leader from Kerala and former Minister of Defense in UPA government, A.K. Anthony made the announcement at a press conference in capital New Delhi.
Political pundits say, it’s a Congress’s bid to consolidate its huge voter base in southern states, where regional parties usually make the gains. Kerala’s Wayanad seat, a Congress bastion, already has huge numbers of voters from Christian and Muslim communities, traditionally supporting Mr. Gandhi’s party on the seat making it impossible for BJP to make inroads in state and posing a direct challenge to CPI-led UDF ,who were assumed to be a Congress ally.
Whereas ruling BJP has teased Congress of saving face and running from defeat in UP state, ruled by BJP which it won with a huge landslide in 2017 Vidhan sabha elections.
Amethi, in last general election was fiercely contested between senior BJP leader Smriti Irani and Mr. Gandhi, resulting in Congress win, but with very low margin compared to previous battles on the seat. Repeating the history same two contestants are facing eachother from both parties, making it a tough and prestigious battle for pride for BJP and for survival for Congress
Union minister Smriti Irani in a press conference said ,”Pehle Delhi mein Chandni Chowk ne haraya, phir Amethi ne bhagaya. Jis mantri mahoyadaya ki charcha kar rahe hain, jinko ticket di hai, ab haar ki hattrick ka mahaul bana hai (First lost from Chandni Chowk, then Amethi. And now, the minister in question has created an atmosphere of a hat-trick of defeats)”.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) April 1, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet accused Congress of not daring to contest from a Hindu majority seat.
— The News Minute (@thenewsminute) April 1, 2019
Southern states like kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is where central BJP government is very less in visibility partially due to its strong North and West Indian roots and Hindu nationalist pitch, which gradually fades as we move south.