Rahul Gandhi to Contest from Kerala? State Leaders Say Yes, Congress Non-committal

Gandhi said that the Congress, if voted to power, would not allow the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill.

New Delhi: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi may contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad constituency if the party's Kerala unit has its way. Congress leaders from down South have been persistently inviting Gandhi to contest from their respective states. While Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao asked Gandhi to contest from his state, the Kerala Congress too had been trying to gauge Gandhi’s poll strategy in a bid to have him contest from the Wayanad constituency.

The suggestion was put across in a light manner during a brainstorming session to finalise the campaign strategy and selection of candidates, which was attended by Kerala PCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and other leaders.

During interval, while having an informal interaction with Gandhi, Congress leaders asked him to contest from Wayanad constituency in Kerala.

According to sources, Gandhi earlier turned down the request, saying he did not know much about the Wayanad constituency, which is an important Congress seat. He said he is not keen to contest from Kerala as he has already decided to contest from his sitting constituency Amethi.

Although the request was put across informally, sources said Kerala leaders were looking at the possibility of Congress chief’s candidature from the state which has 20 seats and where Congress-led UDF and CPIM-led LDF are in engaged in an indirect fight. The BJP, even though it has not opened its Lok Sabha account from the state, is also set to give a good fight.

Wayanad is a traditional Congress stronghold and the party is certain of its win from the seat. However, this time the seat created trouble as two different groups within the party fought to contest from there. This tug-of-war happened between a group led by former CM Oommen Chandy and another led by Ramesh Chennithala.