Congress President Rahul Gandhi has decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Kerala’s Wayanad constituency in addition to Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, the party said on Sunday. Congress leader AK Antony made the announcement at a press conference in New Delhi.
“Rahul Gandhi has said that Amethi is his karmabhoomi. His relationship with Amethi is that of family,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at the conference.
“The demand was made by Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that Gandhi contest from Wayanad,” the spokesperson said. He claimed that Wayanad represents all three states, connecting them geographically and culturally. “So Gandhi decided that he will be able to represent all three states by contesting from Wayanad. He will be able to strengthen the thread that ties North and South India together.”
Surjewala claimed that the people of Amethi trust the fact that they are protected by Rahul Gandhi’s presence there, PTI reported. He said that while the BJP’s task is to foment conspiracy, the Congress’ task is construction.
Antony backed Surjewala’s assertion that Wayanad is the “tri-junction of three states”. “In a way it will satisfy the requests of three southern states,” he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had on March 20 allocated the Wayanad constituency to National Democratic Alliance ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena, apart from Thrissur, Mavelikkara, Idukki and Alathur. The seat is currently allotted to BJDS candidate Paily Vathiattu. However, it now remains to be seen whether the saffron party will continue the arrangement in Wayanad.
BJP Kerala President PS Sreedharan Pillai told The Indian Express that the party’s Kerala unit will speak to the central leadership and about the BJDS candidate.
While Wayanad will vote on on April 23 during the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections, Amethi will go to polls on May 6 during the fifth phase.
On March 29, Gandhi told PTI in an interview that he has not ruled out contesting the polls from two constituencies. Gandhi said that many Congress leaders have contested from more than one constituency in past elections, and that the party will take a call on his candidature from another seat soon. The Congress chief added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also contested from two seats, Vadodara and Varanasi, during the 2014 General Elections.
Gandhi will be pitted against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Smriti Irani in Amethi. Gandhi had defeated Irani by over 1 lakh votes in 2014.
The 2019 General Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results declared on May 23.