Rahul Gandhi and his emotional connection with Wayanad
Bengaluru, Apr 04: The Congress party is fighting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tooth and nail in the hope of avoiding the repeat of the humiliating defeat it suffered in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and party president Rahul Gandhi, unlike the previous general elections, is spearheading the Congress' challenge this time out.
In a bid to improve the Congress' position in south India, this time Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
But Why Wayanad?
Wayanad district is in the north eastern part of Kerala and houses various tribal groups of the state. The area was badly affected due to last year's floods. It also has religious and cultural importance. The district came into national focus when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi decided to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad along with his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
However, Wayanad is not just another constituency for Rahul Gandhi. The seat has an emotional connection with the Congress chief and the Gandhi family.
Rahul Gandhi and his emotional connection with Wayanad:
Years ago, the ashes of Rajiv Gandhi, father of Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister of the country, were immersed at Papanasini in Thirunelli (known as the southern Kasi), about 30 km from Mananthavadi.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, Chennai, in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991.
By immersing Rajiv Gandhi's ashes in Wayanad, K Karunakaran made the political atmosphere favourable for the Congress. The Congress saw a slump in numbers in the state out of sympathy factor after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991.
The Congress made a comeback in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls and assembly elections, defeating the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
The Congress grabbed 13 seats out of a total of 20 seats in Kerala in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. The 1991 Lok Sabha poll results shocked the Left.
Now exactly after 28 years after his father's death, Rahul Gandhi is back in Wayanad to make it his 'karmabhoomi'.
However, Rahul's decision is seen as an attempt by the Congress to consolidate its electoral base in south India, especially Kerala which has 20 Lok Sabha seats. Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats and Karnataka has 28.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress had won eight Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, besides two by its ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and one by Kerala Congress (Mani) and one by Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
The party is hoping to further consolidate its position this time in the state.