Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow rocks sleepy Wayanad

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 04, 2019

UDF workers participate in a rally after Congress president Rahul Gandhi annoucned he will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat. File Photo   -  PTI

The Congress chief was accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi and other senior party leaders

Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s road show in Wayanad, in the company of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, may have paved the way for a grander show by the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself in the vanguard.

The PM is expected to be in Kerala on April 12 and address rallies in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, which borders the district of Wayanad.

The constituency could prove a logistical nightmare for the Special Protection Group as it did on Thursday when Rahul breached the protocol to freely mix with the milling crowd before going on a roadshow. The district headquarters of Kalpetta, where he filed the nomination papers as a Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, is a sleepy town that lacks infrastructure.

Also read: ‘Rahul’s Wayanad contest is an insult’

Reports from Wayanad said tens of thousands of people had descended from all parts of North Kerala, as well as neighbouring Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, early in the morning. AV Narayanaswami, farmer and agricultural consultant, said Congress workers and enthusiasts practically laid siege to the congested Kalpetta.

“The distance by road from Kozhikode to Wayanad is 72 km, of which, 12 km falls in the ghat section. The entire ghat section was in a never-ending jam with in-bound vehicles waiting to clear out since morning,” he told BusinessLine.

‘Impressive show’

“It was an impressive show. There was no way I could have entered the town, hardly 2 km from home. Such was the crowd, and they seemed to have emerged from nowhere.”

“The only issue people were discussing was how wide the victory margin would be,” he said. In the 2016 Assembly elections, of the seven Assembly segments in the constituency, four went to the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). Party workers dismiss this as ‘another time and another era’ and the victory margin of two-time MP late MI Shanavas had fallen from 1.5 lakh in 2009 to 20,780 in 2014 due to infighting in the party.

Activists of the CPI and the ruling Left Democratic Front discounted the size of the crowd, saying it was mostly the huge number of cars carrying Congress leaders that had caused the traffic jam.

Published on April 04, 2019

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