Pressure is mounting on Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad in North Kerala.
Even as senior Congress leaders in Kerala, including the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mulapally Ramachandran, said that Rahul's candidature for Wayanad will be announced soon, a formal announcement of AICC was yet to come.
Wayanad constituency covers the high-range district in North Kerala that shares boundaries with both Karnataka and Tamilnadu. Some parts of Kozhikode and Malappuram districts also fall in the Wayanad constituency. Congress leader M I Shanavas has been recording thumping victory in the constituency in the last two Lok Sabha elections, with even a state record margin of around 1.5 lakhs in 2009. Hence it is considered as a safe seat for Congress.
Shanavas passed away last year and a young Congress leader T Siddique was being actively considered for the seat.
AICC general secretary and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy came out with the statement on Saturday that Rahul Gandhi was urged to contest from Wayanad in Kerala. He also said that it would benefit the Congress in entire south India.
Soon after that Kerala PCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said that Rahul has agreed to the Kerala PCC's request to contest from Kerala and his candidature for Wayanad would be announced soon. Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also backed it and said Rahul will win with a majority of 5 lakh from Wayanad. By that time Congress leader T Siddique, who had already begun campaigning in Wayanad, said that he was keeping off from the fray with the excitement that Rahul is contesting from the constituency.
However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi that a request in this regard was received from the Congress leaders in Kerala was received and the Congress president will consider it positively.
Earlier there were reports that Rahul might contest in any of the south Indian states. Rahul has already decided to contest from his sitting seat Amethi in UP. BJP has fielded union minister Srithi Irani against him for the second time.