The suspense over “Wayanad or Rae Bareli” has finally ended, as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is set to take the electoral plunge from Kerala. During a pivotal Congress core meeting, it was decided that Rahul Gandhi would keep the family bastion of Rae Bareli, while his sister, Priyanka, would run for the seat in Wayanad – a seat that embraced the former Congress president in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In India, people are allowed to contest in multiple constituencies but they can only represent one in Parliament and for days, which seat Rahul Gandhi would choose to retain was the subject of keen interest.

Announcing the Congress decision, party chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Rahul Gandhi won from two Lok Saba seats but as per the law, he has to vacate one seat. Rahul Gandhi will retain Rae Bareli and we have decided that Priyanka ji will fight from Wayanad.”

Explaining why Rahul Gandhi chose Rae Bareli over Wayanad, Mallikarjun Kharge said the decision was emotional because the Gandhi family has been fighting from this seat for generations. “Rahul Gandhi will retain his Raebareli seat because Raebareli has been close to him from before, that (area) has great attachment to the family, they have been fighting (in elections) from there for generations,” he said.

Congress has won Rae Bareli 17 of 20 times the elections were held and Rahul Gandhi’s mother Sonia has held the seat since 2004. She is now a member of Rajya Sabha. Rahul Gandhi won Rae Bareli by defeating BJP’s Dinesh Pratap Singh by a margin of 390,030 votes. He also won in Wayanad by defeating Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate Annie Raja by 364,422 votes.

Priyanka Gandhi’s electoral debut was anticipated even in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but she did not contest the elections. If she is elected from Wayanad in the Lok Sabha bypolls, this will be the first time that all three Gandhi family members – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka – will be in Parliament together.

WHAT DID RAHUL GANDHI SAY?

Rahul Gandhi said it was a difficult decision for him as she has an emotional relationship with both Rae Bareli and Wayanad but promised that if Priyanka is elected from the Kerala seat, “he will keep visiting.”

“The last five years as an MP of Wayanad have been a fantastic and enjoyable experience. The people of Wayanad gave me support and gave me energy to fight at a very difficult time. I will never forget that. All the people of Wayanad gave me a lot of love and I thank them from my heart. I will visit Wayanad and will fulfil our promises made,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi further added that he has an old relation with Rae Bareli and “I am very happy that I will be representing it.”

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 18 Jun 2024, 07:28 AM IST


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