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Congress hopes to repeat 2019 performance in Kerala, no friendly fight with Left

Apr 04, 2024 09:39 AM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Kerala as the party and its allies swept the elections in the state winning 19 of 20 seats

Months before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, a group of leaders from Kerala met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and asked him to contest from the southern state. The leaders said it would boost the party’s prospects in the state. Gandhi’s aides maintain he did not choose Wayanad fearing defeat in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. They say he agreed to the plan simply because the party leaders convinced him that his presence would boost the party’s prospects. And they were spot on. The Congress and its allies swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, winning 19 of 20 seats.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad on Wednesday. (X)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad on Wednesday. (X)

Congress’s show of strength

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Five years later, Gandhi is again contesting from Wayanad and Congress hopes to repeat its performance. On Wednesday, he filed his nomination. A sea of people joined him for a roadshow as a show of strength. Gandhi called the 2024 election a fight for India’s soul and to preserve democracy from the forces of hatred, corruption, and injustice that seek to suppress the voice of Bharat Mata (Mother India).

Gandhi called Wayanad his home, and its people his family. “From them, I have learned a great deal over the last five years and received an abundance of love and affection,” Rahul Gandhi said in a social media post after he filed his nomination after the roadshow. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among the party leaders who accompanied him.

The Left parties, which have fielded Communist Party of India’s Annie Raja from Wayanad, grumbled. The Congress has said there would be no friendly fight with the Left in Kerala.

Suspense continues over Raebareli and Amethi

The Congress is yet to announce its candidates from the Gandhi family stronghold of Raebareli and Amethi. There has been speculation that Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi might contest from these two seats. A leader considered close to Priyanka Gandhi told HT, “I would be surprised if she does not contest from Raebareli. For years she nurtured the seat for her mother and she is the natural choice to succeed Sonia Gandhi for Raebareli.”

INDIA bloc collapses in Jammu and Kashmir

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) suffered a blow as People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday announced it will contest three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir. Mufti blamed National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah for non-cooperation. She added the INDIA bloc partner left the PDP with no option other than fielding candidates.

There are also no seat pacts between major INDIA allies in Kerala, West Bengal, and Punjab. In Trinamool Congress-ruled Bengal, the Left has a seat adjustment with the Congress.The NC, which has left two seats for the Congress in Jammu, announced that former chief minister Farooq Abdullah will not fight elections.

Congress expels Sanjay Nirupam

The Congress on Wednesday expelled the party’s former Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam for six years days after he lashed out over Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT)’s announcement of Lok Sabha candidates in Mumbai. Nirupam, who was hoping to contest the Mumbai North West seat, was earlier dropped from the list of star campaigners.

Mamata plucks tea leaves

India’s lone woman chief minister Mamata Banerjee has written over 50 books. She paints, sings, and plays synthesizer besides running her party and winning elections. On Wednesday, she took a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book and had “chai pe charcha”. Banerjee prepared tea at a local stall in Jalpaiguri as she interacted with the tea plantation workers.

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