Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad, says will not speak a word against CPM

Claiming that there is a "cultural attack" by PM Modi, RSS and the government, Rahul Gandhi said his motto of fighting from Wayanad is to "send a message that India is one.

Just like what his grandmother India Gandhi did in 1980 elections and mother Sonia in her maiden electoral fight in 1999, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi turned to South and filed his nomination from Kerala’s Wayanad district on Thursday. Accompanied by sister and Uttar Pradesh East General Secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul later held a roadshow, marking the beginning of his Wayanad campaign. Wayanad will be Rahul’s second seat in addition to his family stronghold Amethi.

Claiming that there is a “cultural attack” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS and the government, Rahul said his motto of fighting from Wayanad is to “send a message that India is one.” On rifts with the Left over his Wayanad ticket, Rahul Gandhi added, “I know the Congress and the CPM are locked in a fight in Kerala. This fight will go on. I understand that my brothers and sisters in CPM will fight me, attack me, but I will never say a word against them in my campaign. My motto is to send a message of unity and peace in South India,” he told reporters after filing his nomination.

The AICC chief, along with the state leaders including former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, came out in an open vehicle after Gandhi completed the nomination procedures at the district collectorate in Wayanad. A massive crowd of supporters carrying party flags greeted the convoy along the lanes of Wayanad. During the roadshow, Gandhi was seen shaking hands with many supporters.

Ahead of his nomination today, Smriti Irani – who is pitted against him in his second constituency in Uttar Pradesh – called it an “insult of Amethi.” “He enjoyed a position of power for 15 years because of the support from Amethi, but now he is going to file nomination from elsewhere. This is an insult of Amethi and people here will not tolerate this,” she said.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also attacked Gandhi for choosing a constituency that is not ‘dominated by the majority community.’ Congress was “running away from majority-dominated areas” to “take refuge in areas where the majority is in minority,” he added. The Left has also criticised Rahul saying “Congress has lost the plot” by deciding to fight against the Left instead of the BJP. Reckoned as one of the safest constituencies for the party, Congress believes that “nothing will work against Rahul Gandhi” here.

Wayanad is home to Kerala’s largest tribal population. Eighteen per cent of the district’s vote share is that of tribals. Rahul is pitted against PP Suneer of the CPI and Thushar Vellappally of the NDA. Solar scam accused Saritha Nair will also take on the Congress chief.

Wayanad will vote on April 23 and Amethi on May 6. The results will be declared on May 23.

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