In what can only be viewed as a move arising from fear and insecurity, Congress has announced Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency today. This seat in Kerala will be his second seat as Rahul Gandhi was named the Congress candidate from the traditional Congress seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh earlier this month. Congress heir has led the party to a slow downfall, and nothing is more evident to that than the fact that Amethi might cease to be a Congress bastion after the 2019 elections.
In addition to Amethi, UP, Congress President @RahulGandhi will also be contesting from Wayanad, Kerala, for the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
— Congress (@INCIndia) March 31, 2019
This decision of the Congress has been met with great backlash and criticism. It is being speculated that Rahul Gandhi has grown insecure seeing Smriti Irani’s rise in Amethi and fears not being elected to Lok Sabha at all. This Wayanad constituency is being viewed as the ‘safe seat’ of Congress, with the party holding it since its formation in 2008.
When asked whether Congress chief has lost confidence in Amethi, Randeep Surjewala said, “Why did Modi ji leave Gujarat and contest from Varanasi? Was he not confident in Gujarat? These are immature and childish comments. She (Smriti Irani) will once again suffer a loss.”
Perhaps the Congress fails to comprehend the fact that Narendra Modi was contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 2014. PM Modi chose the city of Vadodara because Gujarat is his hometown and chose Varanasi as it is the epicenter of Hinduism, a place from where his ideologies stem. Narendra Modi was a new Lok Sabha entrant who was chosen as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate solely on his merits. He sported the confidence to be elected from two different seats, which eventually turned out right. BJP would not have dealt with an embarrassing situation arising from lack of voter support for their prime ministerial candidate. In such crucial circumstances, PM Modi was confident enough to be fielded from two constituencies. Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand has been opted for the post on the basis of his dynasty. He has no qualms to prove his worth to be elected by the party; his ‘Gandhi name’ is enough. Besides, Amethi has been the Congress foothold since the past many decades with Rahul Gandhi himself being elected as an MP from the constituency since the past 15 years. Such a move plainly shows a lack of confidence.
The need for the second seat stems from Rahul Gandhi’s declining popularity in Amethi. Amethi has been Congress’ stronghold for the longest time, represented by former PM Indira Gandhi’s sons Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. After Rajiv, his wife Sonia Gandhi represented the constituency. After which, she was succeeded by her son Rahul Gandhi. Amethi has thus been represented by four members of the Nehru–Gandhi family. Since the year 2004, Rahul Gandhi has exercised significant uninterrupted hold over the bastion. However, in 2014, the people witnessed a change. Even though Rahul Gandhi was elected as the MP from Amethi, Congress witnessed a huge loss in the vote percentage and managed to get only 41% of the total votes, from their 71% in 2009. BJP meanwhile, under Union Textiles minister Smriti Irani saw an unprecedented rise in the vote percentage from 5% to 34%. Moreover, during the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017, BJP won 4 of the 5 assembly seats under the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency and Congress managed to get none.
Over the last 5 years, while Rahul Gandhi has taken Amethi for granted, Smriti Irani has been working for the development of the region. The union minister has initiated human and economic growth at an unprecedented level. On Rahul’s ignorance of Amethi, Smriti Irani said, “It is saddening indeed that the person who has been elected by the people to the Lok Sabha from Amethi has never spoken a word either about the place or the people in the Lower House of Parliament. For the last five years, he has only uttered foul language against the Prime worker (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) of the country.” She also accused Rahul Gandhi of not coming forward to help Amethi, which every summer witness’s fire due to heat. “I have seen at least 500 houses being gutted during summer time every year, and only the BJP workers come forward to help them. Rahul Gandhi was nowhere,” she added.
With the elections nearing the corner, the entire Congress fleet is worried as they realise Smriti Irani’s staggering effect on Amethi and what it would mean for the PM candidate to lose his family bastion and not be elected to the Lok Sabha. This selection of Congress is a ploy to hide the fact that Amethi is no more a safe seat for them. After the Lok Sabha election of 2014, it is speculated that Rahul Gandhi may not be able to win back his seat. So, the Congress party is fielding him from the Wayanad seat, treating it as a back-up constituency.
“Rahul contesting from anywhere in the south, indicates the fall of Congress. The reason he is looking to contest from a southern state is because he fears losing from Amethi and shows the party’s ‘lack of strength’,” Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman G. Madhusudhan said.
Smriti Irani on Rahul Gandhi’s candidature stated, “Vacate the throne Rahul Ji for the public is coming”. She further added that Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad is an eyewash.
Being the imitator Rahul Gandhi is, he perhaps wanted to follow PM Modi’s footsteps and as PM candidate, apart from his home constituency, wants to contest from the seat of ‘syncretic culture’. As PM Modi chose Varanasi, respecting his Hinduism ideologies, the Gandhi heir ironically chose Wayanad. He opted to incorporate the ‘syncretic culture’ in the party by choosing a constituency with a rather interesting minority dominated demography. Congress’ love for divide and rule is well known. Imbibing from the British, Jawaharlal Nehru and then his successors have garnered support through practicing minority politics since time immemorial. Congress believes Wayanad will spell a sure win for Rahul Gandhi as almost 57.98% of voters in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency are Muslims. Along with viewing the Muslim community as a gullible vote bank, they are continuing to inculcate a culture of communal politics. Having failed to accomplish anything worthwhile, Rahul Gandhi wants to attain votes solely on the basis of religion in both the constituencies.
BJP chief Amit Shah took a sharp dig at Rahul Gandhi on the Cngress communal politics practice by stating, “Congress’ votebank politics has worked on playing with the security of the country. It is the result of this that Rahul Gandhi has left Amethi and run away to Kerala because he knows that voters will seek account from him in Amethi this time”.
It is alarmingly dangerous for India that politics is still continuing to be decided on religious grounds, leaving democratic principles in the dust. With this calculated and tactful move, the Congress has ensured Rahul Gandhi’s election to Lok Sabha, be it from any constituency. The Wayanad candidature not only shows Congress’ loss of confidence in Rahul Gandhi but also is a letdown to the people in Amethi who have been staunch worshippers of the Congress party, believing in them. It is humorous to see the lengths the grand old party will go to in order to protect their incompetent heir.
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