Rahul Gandhi Leads in Wayanad: A Wise Move, A Safe Seat

Rahul Gandhi leads by over 43,000 seats in Wayanad. Here’s why it’s important.

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Rahul Gandhi Leads in Wayanad: A Wise Move, A Safe Seat
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Congress President Rahul Gandhi was leading in Wayanad with a margin of almost 8 lakh votes at 3.30 pm, while simultaneously trailing by almost 14,000 votes in Amethi.

Both Indira Gandhi (Medak, AP, 1980) and Sonia Gandhi (Bellary, Karnataka, 1999) contested from south India, and resurrected the Congress party while contesting from those constituencies.

It appears that Rahul Gandhi is set to repeat history.


Wayanad: The Right Seat From the Start

From weeks before the nominations, there was talk of Rahul Gandhi contesting from a constituency in south India. It was for this reason that his choice of Wayanad in Kerala didn’t come as much of a surprise, for those with their ears to the ground.

To contest simultaneously from Amethi and Wayanad was part necessity and part political acumen. The current tally of the Congress is well below that of 1998. But on the other hand, the Congress is more popular in the south than the BJP (except for Karnataka).

The Congress’ presence in AP and Tamil Nadu is negligible, but Rahul Gandhi’s popularity is independent of this fact. In Kerala though, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have a much larger presence. Also, the BJP is perceived as a 'central’ threat to state freedom.


Amethi: Hope Builds, then Falls

Preliminary numbers from Amethi – which has historically been a Congress bastion – placed BJP’s Smriti Irani in the lead. However, the Congress party’s show of strength during the nomination, which was preceded by a thousands-strong rally across town, seemed to have received validation by around 10 am.

But as of 3:30 pm, Rahul Gandhi was trailing by over 14,000 votes. From 1980, right until 2019, Amethi has been under Congress rule, except for 1998-99, during which year the BJP was in power. Despite the win in Wayanad, if Rahul Gandhi’s trail ends in losing the seat, it would mean a historic defeat. Also one that would stand out as unexpected in this election.

The Congress vs BJP narrative, which has a strong resonance in Amethi, also finds acceptance in Wayanad. Nevertheless, Rahul Gandhi’s win in Wayanad is also a strong message to the regional parties that the Congress has truly arrived in their state.

In light of the bitter factional rivalry between the Congress (A) and the Congress (I) in Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi’s lead and imminent victory in the constituency is all the more significant. But if Amethi is lost to the BJP’s Smriti Irani, Wayanad’s win will remain bittersweet.

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Topics:  Rahul Gandhi 

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