The Congress party workers welcomed Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest polls from Wayanad apart from Amethi. Rahul’s decision to contest poll has lifted the morale of the Congress workers from the southern states. Already party cadres from southern state wanted him to contest from the south. According to them, Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest the election will strengthen the unity of the north and south. On the other hand, political analysts have a different take on Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from two constituencies. According to them, if Rahul faces defeat from both the Wayanad and Amethi, it will be a major setback for him and Congress party.
Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai said, “We will have to ask who advised Rahul Gandhi to fight election from Wayanad. If Rahul concentrates on Kerala, then he might lose in Uttar Pradesh. If he concentrates on both the constituencies, then there is a possibility of losing both. If Rahul loses polls from both the constituencies, definitely it will be a major setback as he is the National President of Congress. The Election Commission must frame guidelines to prohibit a candidate from contesting election from two constituencies.”
Already Congress was routed out of power in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls where it could only manage to win 44 seats. The party has gone on a revival mode after winning assembly polls from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. If Rahul fails to win from both the constituencies, it will have an adverse effect on his political career. Already political analysts have questioned his leadership skills as Congress is yet to find an amicable leader who can take the party forward.
Senior Congress leader Abdul Sattar said, “In 2014, there was a possibility of Modi’s defeat in Gujarat, hence, he contested polls from Varanasi. He had contested election from two constituencies. Rahul Gandhi is contesting election from two constituencies as demanded by the party workers. Even Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to face defeat but their political career did not end. In the same manner, even if Rahul Gandhi loses the election from both the constituencies, it won’t affect his political career. Let’s keep faith in democracy. Rahul Gandhi will emerge victorious from both the constituencies.”
Even the grassroot level leaders are not pleased with Rahul as he remains inaccessible to them. According to political experts, a mature politician has his own vision and is aware of the responsibility for his acts and speeches. Rahul Gandhi fails badly for both. He gets carried away by just trying to fit the role of an opposition and forgets his own identity.
BJP MLA Prasad Lad said, “Rahul Gandhi is confident of losing polls from Amethi, hence, he has chosen a constituency which has more Muslim population where BJP might not win the election. Indira Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had contested polls from Amethi. Rahul Gandhi contesting election from a constituency besides Amethi only shows that Congress’s loss and the victory of Modi. There is no problem if a candidate plans to contest from two constituencies as even PM Modi had contested polls from two constituencies but he had won both the seats.”
BJP took jibes against Rahul’s decision with Union Minister and BJP’s candidate from Amethi Smriti Irani alleging that Rahul Gandhi is confident of his defeat from Amethi and this is the reason why he has decided to contest from a second seat.
Political analyst Vaishali Patil said, “Rahul Gandhi has become conscious about his constituency and filing the nomination. If Rahul loses from both constituencies, it will affect his political career. Filing nominations from two constituencies show the insecurity of Rahul Gandhi. A candidate must have the confidence in winning an election while contesting it. Not only Rahul Gandhi, but many other leaders have filed their nomination from two constituencies and after winning from one constituency, they withdraw their candidature from the other.”
In the run-up to Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi had announced that 20 per cent of the weakest category would be given Rs 72,000 each annually as minimum income if Congress party comes to power. Rahul claimed that the Congress Nyuntam Aay Yojana would benefit 50 million households or approximately 250 million (assuming five members per family). Nyay will cost the exchequer Rs 3.6 lakh crore a year – 1.8 per cent of India’s GDP. The scheme was announced just 17 days prior to the first phase of voting. Rahul Gandhi had termed the scheme as Congress’s surgical strike against poverty.
Wayanad is a rural district that shares its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The seat has been a Congress bastion for decades. Congress leaders from three southern states – Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu – had requested Rahul Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha poll from a second seat. On the other hand, former General Secretary Prakash Karat has expressed disappointment over Rahul’s decision, saying that it shows that the Congress’ priority now is to fight against Left in Kerala.