After Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as MP following a Surat court convicted him in a defamation case, the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala , which he represented, has now no representative in the lower house. Unless a higher court stays or overturns Rahul’s conviction and sentence, the seat will remain vacant.
Under these circumstances, question is being asked in various quarters whether the Election Commission (EC) will announce the date of bypoll for the Wayanad Lok Sabha along with announcing the schedule for the Karnataka Assembly polls.
Experts say the EC won’t take a decision on Wayanad by-poll in a hurry, in the backdrop of its past experience of Lakshadweep bypoll announcement.
In Janauary, Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal PP of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was convicted with a 10 year jail term in a case of attempted murder by a court in the Island. Subsequently, the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha disqualified him from membership of the Lower House. Following this,the EC has announced the date for bypoll in the Lakshadweep constituency.
On January 25, 2022, the Kerala High Court overturned the judgement of the Kavaratti court against Faizal. On January 30, 2023, the EC deferred a by-poll in the Lakshadweep constituency. Hence, the EC is unlikely to announce the Wayanad bypoll immediately, instead, it may wait for the decision of higher court on Rahul’s appeal against his conviction by the Surat court
Meanwhile, there are reports that if a bypoll is to be held in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi may contest from the seat .However, the Congress leaders said that no discussions regarding this have been held so far.
If Rahul does not get a stay for his conviction and sentence from the higher court and the Election Commission (EC) declares the by-election in the Wayanad seat,there are indications that Congress may field Priyanka from the seat.