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Kerala: Left leaders question Rahul on possible candidacy from Wayanad  
Feb 28, 2024 11:57 am

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has not yet clarified if he will contest again from Wayanad Kochi Left-wing political parties, which are part of the opposition INDIA bloc, on Tuesday asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his party what message they would be sending to the country if he were to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad in Kerala, where his principal rival would be the Communist Party of India (CPI). While the former Congress president has not yet clarified if he will contest again from Wayanad, the CPI has fielded its national executive member Annie Raja, who is married to party general secretary D Raja, as its Lok Sabha candidate in the seat. “CPI has declared its candidate for the seat in Wayanad, Comrade Annie Raja, who has played a key role in ‘Mahila Andolan’. Now she will be the candidate from the side of the whole LDF (Left Democratic Front). Rahul Gandhi and Congress need to think, they say that their fight is against BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). In Kerala, if you come and fight against Left, what message are you giving? So, they need to think about their seat once again,” CPI(Marxist) leader Brinda Karat told reporters. Gandhi, who won three times from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, but lost in 2019 to Union minister Smriti Irani of the Bharatiya Janata Party, fought and won from a second seat in Wayanad for the first time five years ago. The Congress said that Gandhi’s presence helped the party win 15 of the 20 seats in Kerala. While the Left and the Congress are part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), it was always clear they would find it difficult to arrive at any sort of understanding in Kerala, where the two represent the two main poles of the state polity. CPI state secretary Binoy Viswam said the idea of Gandhi contesting against Left in Wayanad would be a “wrong political step” and that the political stock of the Congress was at stake. “There’s zero possibility of success for BJP in Kerala. So, the main question is which is the main political arena? Who is the enemy of the Congress in the political battle? The RSS-led BJP or the Left? Rahul Gandhi and the INDIA bloc is quite clear that RSS-led BJP is the enemy. That’s why we respect him so much. But some leaders in the Congress are pushing him to fight against a Left candidate in Kerala. Therefore, I say it’s a politically wrong step,” Viswam told HT. Viswam said he respects the Congress leader and believes he would eventually opt out of Wayanad. However, leader of the Opposition in Kerala assembly and senior Congress leader VD Satheesan on Tuesday said the state unit of the party has requested Gandhi to fight from Wayanad. “It is his seat and we want him to contest from here again,” he told reporters.