A proposal by the Communist Party of India (CPI) suggesting that Rahul Gandhi should abstain from seeking re-election from Wayanad in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls has stirred displeasure within the Congress, particularly its Kerala division.
These remarks were put forth by CPI Rajya Sabha MP P Sandosh Kumar on 19 September during internal deliberations at the recent national executive meeting of the party, The Hindu reported.
The INDI Alliance member implied that Gandhi's potential return to Wayanad might be perceived as a sign of vulnerability given the altered political landscape since 2019. However, it failed to find much favor within the Congress ranks.
KC Venugopal, the Congress General Secretary (Organisation), promptly dismissed the suggestion, emphasising that the party's Central Election Committee holds the exclusive authority to determine candidacies, asserting, "No one else should express an opinion on this matter."
K Sudhakaran, the State Congress Chief, decried the proposal as "unjust," underlining that the Kerala unit unequivocally supports Gandhi's candidacy in Wayanad.
The distinctive political dynamics of Kerala, where the Congress and the Left parties directly contest against the backdrop of minimal BJP presence, obviate the need for any seat-sharing arrangement in the state.
Sources indicate that Kumar had rationalised that Gandhi, being no ordinary candidate, enjoys considerable public admiration, particularly following his extensive 4,000-km-long Bharat Jodo Yatra (India Unite March). He is regarded as the natural leader of the alliance and, rather than Wayanad, should contest from one of the Hindi-speaking states to confront the BJP head-on.
While Kumar refrained from commenting on his remarks during the party's national executive meeting, he did suggest, "It would be prudent for Gandhi not to contest against the Left, which constitutes an integral component of the new bloc known as INDI Alliance."
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