Will Smriti Irani take on Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad too?

FE Online

Congress President Rahul Gandhi is ‘actively considering’ contesting from Wayanad constituency in Kerala apart from his traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. While Congress claims that the Congress president is mulling Wayanad option on demand of the people from the Southen state, the BJP says that the grand old party wants to protect Rahul Gandhi from an impending defeat in Amethi.

BJP Minister Smriti Irani had given a tough fight to Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and brought the vote margin from over three lakh in 2009 to one lakh in 2014. The BJP has once again fielded Irani from Amethi. The Congress is yet to announce Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad. However, it appears that the BJP is in no mood to spare the Congress president this general election.

Mathrubhumi reports that the saffron party is making moves to field Smriti Irani against Rahul Gandhi in Kerala as well. The report claims that the BJP will take over the seat removing BDJS candidate if Congress President chooses to contest from Wayanad. According to the report, the saffron party is pushing hard to bring Smriti Irani to fight against Rahul and for that, an agreement has been reached to exchange seat with BDJS.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the BJP would win Amethi this time. Speaking on the reports that the Congress president might also contest from Wayanad in Kerala, the minister said: “He (Rahul Gandhi) is running away from UP. Far from UP, he is going to Kerala and will contest the elections from there. Smriti Irani will register a massive win from Amethi,” Goyal said.

In 2014, Rahul Gandhi got 408,651 votes with 36.71 per cent vote share and Smriti Irani secured 300,748 votes with 34.38 per cent vote share. But what was interesting in the contest was the changes in vote share. The BJP’s vote share had gone up by 28 per cent and the Congress lost 35 per cent vote share compared to 2009 polls.

Meanwhile, the Congress Kerala leadership is hoping that Rahul Gandhi would accept to contest from Wayanad. Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recently said that the presence of the Congress chief in Kerala would give a massive boost to party workers. “However, the final decision has to be taken by Gandhi,” he added.