The Left parties on Sunday downplayed Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Kerala’s Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Gandhi’s decision should not be seen as “any different”.
“He’s fighting in one of the 20 constituencies (in Kerala) and that doesn’t need to be seen as any different,” Vijayan told the media.
The CPI(M) leader, however, said that Gandhi’s decision translates to the fact that his fight is against the Left and not the BJP.
“We’ll fight him. He should’ve contested from a constituency where BJP is contesting. It’s nothing but a fight against Left,” the CM said.
Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that the Left will now “ensure Gandhi’s defeat” in Wayanad.
“To pick a candidate like Rahul Gandhi against Left means that Congress is going to target the Left in Kerala. This is something which we will strongly oppose and in this election we will work to ensure the defeat of Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad,” Karat was quoted as saying by ANI.
Karat also said that the grand old party has now gone against its own commitment to fight the BJP.
“It goes against Congress’ national commitment to fight BJP, as in Kerala it’s LDF which is the main force fighting BJP there,” Karat said.
Earlier today, the Congress announced that their 48-year-old president will for contest from Wayanad – a constituency located at the northern edge of Kerala bordering both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Gandhi will also contest from the traditional Congress bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, where he will be defending his seat against BJP’s Smriti Irani.
This is the first time that Gandhi will be contesting from two Lok Sabha seats.
“Rahul ji has given his consent to contest from two seats, very happy to inform you that he will also contest from Wayanad in Kerala,” Congress leader AK Antony announced at a press conference in New Delhi.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Gandhi said that he cannot leave Amethi because of its “ties to his family”.
Underlining why Gandhi picked Wayanad, Surjewala said that it is at a unique geographic location which makes it a “representative of three states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka”.
Wayanad is considered a safe seat for Congress in Kerala. Since its formation as a Lok Sabha seat, Wayanad has been the constituency of Congress leader MI Shanawaz. It has, however, been lying vacant since his death in 2018.