LS POLLS: Rahul Gandhi likely to contest polls from Wayanad in Kerala — apart from Amethi

TVM/DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on Saturday “invited” by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad, where the candidature of Kozhikode DCC president T. Siddique has already been announced by the state party leadership. 

Congress leaders including Ramesh Chennithala claimed this afternoon that the proposal went from here. “I had requested Rahul Gandhi when he came here a week ago to contest the polls from Wayanad,” Chennithala claimed. Oommen Chandy too supported Rahul  Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad.

It is learnt that the central party leadership including KC Venugopal were in touch with the state Congress leaders since morning on Saturday on this matter. 

Somewhat out of the blue, a row had erupted Friday as to how the state leadership announced the name of P Siddique for Wayanad without the central party leadership announcing a name for the constituency. Initially, this was not taken very seriously. It now transpires that the central leadership kept mum about Wayanad because it had other plans in mind, which the state leadership was unaware of.

In a huff, the KPCC shot off a recommendation to the central leadership, “proposing” Wayanad for Rahul Gandhi. News spread then that the Congress central leadership is toying with the idea of fielding  Rahul Gandhi from a constituency in the South, apart from Amethi, the family constituency for decades. This time, nothing shows yet that Smiti Irani would trounce Rahul in Amethi, but the Congress leadership is being extra careful.

Rahul Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi, is in charge of the Congress campaign in eastern Uttar Pradesh where Amethi falls. She might do a good job and help retain the seat for the family this time too. 

Rahul Gandhi had been invited for contest from Tamil Nadu too, earlier, by DMK leader M Stalin. Rahul Gandhi might not be very comfortable in Tamil Nadu, because it has a long history of anti-Hindi sentiments and pro-Dravidian push. This could work against Rahul Gandhi even if Stalin personally canvasses for Rahul, it is believed. The hunt for another constituency in the South was quietly on. AGENCIES, IHN-NN

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