Why isn't Rahul contesting from Karnataka asks CPI(M)

Why isn't Rahul contesting from Karnataka asks CPI(M)

New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and former general secretary Prakash Karat at the release of party's manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a press conference, in New Delhi, Thursday, March 28, 2019. (PTI Photo/Subhav Shukla

On a day Congress president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination in Kerala's Wayanad, the CPI(M) has described it as a "wrong turn" and questioned why he did not choose a seat in Karnataka where the BJP is strong.

In an editorial in party mouthpiece Peoples Democracy that will appear in its latest edition and was shared with media on Thursday, the party warned that any effort to "weaken the Left and target it as Rahul Gandhi's fighting against the LDF is attempting", will not be taken kindly by the secular-minded people of Kerala and the minorities.

"By deciding to contest a second seat from Wayanad constituency in Kerala, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi has taken a wrong turn," the editorial said. Gandhi is also contesting from his sitting seat Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Citing Congress leaders' arguments that it was important that he fight from the South also and that BJP is trying to create a communal divide in southern states too, it asked, "if that is the case, then why is Rahul Gandhi not contesting from a constituency in Karnataka?...Could not the Congress find even one out of the 28 seats fit for Rahul Gandhi to contest? Such a step would have signaled that Rahul Gandhi was fighting against the BJP, that too in a southern state."

It said Karnataka is the only state in the south where the BJP is a major force and in the last Lok Sabha election it had won a majority of the seats there.

"Instead, the Congress president is contesting from Kerala, where the main force is the LDF. Thus, instead of fighting the BJP, the target has become the Left. The Wayanad decision speaks much about the present state of ideological and political disarray in the Congress leadership. It indicates the inability of the Congress to take a wider view and rally all the forces to defeat the BJP at the national level," it said.

It cited the examples of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal where the Congress has decided to go alone and not support the secular parties though it is not in the winning position while describing the party as "disruptive" of the unity of the secular forces to fight the BJP.

The CPI(M) also sought to put the Congress in spot by pointing fingers at its alliance with Muslim League.

"In Wayanad, the Muslim League has a strong presence and Rahul is thus a joint candidate of the Congress and the Muslim League in the form of UDF. Thus, Rahul Gandhi will be relying on the Muslim League to try and defeat a Left candidate in Wayanad. Hardly an advertisement for the secular credentials of the Congress president!" it added.