Rahul Gandhi to contest second Lok Sabha seat from Wayanad in Kerala

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency on his second seat, the Congress party announced on Sunday.

Mr. Gandhi was named the candidate from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the first Congress list released earlier this month.

“We had conveyed to Rahul-ji that it would not have been correct to ignore the sentiments of the Congress workers from southern States,” said senior leader A.K. Antony who formally announced the decision.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the idea is to send a message to Southern States that the Congress respects their culture, language and traditions and Mr. Gandhi will act as a bridge between North India and South India.

The demand for Mr. Gandhi to represent from a southern State was first raised by former Karnataka Chief Minister Sidddaramaiah.

Soon, Tamil Nadu and Kerala also made a similar demand for Mr. Gandhi to represent their States. In their support, Congress leaders from South India had pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also contested from Vadodara and Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP, however, had targetted the Congress chief been before he took the decision of contesting from two seats. The ruling party alleged that Mr. Gandhi was looking for a safe seat as he will lose the contest against Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani who is contesting from Amethi.

Ms. Irani had unsuccessfully contested from Amethi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.


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