The Left maybe miffed by the decision to field Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Wayanad. The exit of Rahul Gandhi, the scion of Nehru family, from the Wayanad Lok Sabha Constituency in the post-poll scenario after winning two constituencies, has triggered a controversy over political propriety.

While the political opponents including the Left in the INDIA block cry foul, the Congress claims that with Priyanka Gandhi replacing him, there is no issue of abandoning the electorate, instead people would be benefited with the support of two MPs.

The ire of the Left
The decision of Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad for a second term in 2024 had invited much wrath of the Left who wanted Rahul Gandhi and Congress to be clear against whom they were contesting – the BJP-led NDA or the LDF which was part of the INDIA block. The ruling CPM, the LDF alliance leader in Kerala, was and still is part of that alliance at the national level.

In any case Wayanad has become the cynosure of all eyes once again as it was in 2019 when Rahul Gandhi decided to contest one more constituency in South India, other than the family pocket borough of Amethi

Congress of course didn’t heed, and, despite an intense campaign, CPI candidate Annie Raja fared poorly, losing by 3,64,422 votes.

But she has no issues with Priyanka contesting now. The Left leaders in the state though are worried that when they are already facing a sharp drain in their mass base, the presence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Wayanad could put them in tougher position in the assembly elections two years hence.

In any case Wayanad has become the cynosure of all eyes once again as it was in 2019 when Rahul Gandhi decided to contest one more constituency in South India, other than the family pocket borough of Amethi.

At the time the Congress national leadership was a bit afraid amid the saffron wave in North India and wanted to save their prince by fielding him in one more constituency — obviously a safe one in the South. Thus Wayanad was picked, and Rahul Gandhi came, contested and won, not once but twice. If in 2019 the constituency was a fallback option, and justifiably so, as it turned out, this time round winds had changed, and Rahul won handsomely from both Wayanad and Raebareli in UP.

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With Congress going through a revival period across the nation, the leading lights of the party might have thought it was time to launch Priyanka too and Wayanad was a comfortable option. Also they might see it as a way of keeping the cord of intimacy woven by Rahul Gandhi with the electorate intact.

“If not now, then when” was the question that perhaps forced Priyanka Gandhi to take the mantle from her brother.

Wayanad, considered one of the safest for Congress in the nation, is spread over seven legislative constituencies in three districts, three of them in Wayanad, three more in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district, and one in the adjoining Kozhikode.  Since formation in 2009, the constituency has voted only candidates from the Congress-led UDF front, of which the Indian National Muslim League (IUML) also is a constituent.

So crucial is the Muslim vote, the BJP wouldn’t lose the opportunity to bring in the ‘Pakistan’ question in 2019 itself, however there were not many takers.

Except in 2014, when even the UDF workers were up in arms against then-candidate M I Shanavas for his prolonged absence from the constituency, all Congress candidates have won with a majority of more than one lack votes. Shanavas scraped through by a margin of 20,870 votes. Rahul Gandhi’s victory margin in 2019 was 4,31,770 votes and in 2024 it shrunk a bit to 3,64,422, attributed to an aggressive Left campaign.

Things could change again though, with Priyanka. Congress leaders like A P Anilkumar MLA, the general convener of the election campaign committee of Rahul Gandhi, say Wayanad would be getting the service of two MPs after the by-election. The leaders are also hopeful to increase the margin of Priyanka Gandhi beyond the 5 lakh mark as the post-poll political climate in the nation is more favourable for the UPA alliance.

Moreover, there is a widespread feeling that the present NDA regime would collapse at any time. The INDIA block leaders are waiting for the results of upcoming elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, after which they expect an exodus from the NDA alliance.

With Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the parliament along with Rahul Gandhi, Congress would be mighty enough to lead the country, they hope.

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