Finally Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to test political waters from Wayanad

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After much wait, finally Gandhi scion Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is all set to test political waters in the secure precincts of Wayanad, Kerala, a state where the Congress almost swept polls in 17th and 18th Lok Sabha elections.

The much awaited took shape after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi decided to retain the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat and vacated Wayanad seat. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced Monday evening that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would contest Waynad by-polls.

Kharge attributed the party’s decision to make Rahul Gandhi retain the Rae Bareli seat in view of the emotional connect of Nehru-Gandhi family.

Political analysts have that the decision was primarily made with an eye on the forthcoming 2027 Assembly polls in state after the party improved its performance in UP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress wins six seats in UP, improves vote share to 9.46%

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won six seats in UP of the 17 it contested in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, and improved its vote share to 9.46 per cent.

Reports revealed that party’s Kerala unit, after suffering defeat in two successive Assembly polls to Left Democratic Front, insisted on a ‘Gandhi’ to represent Wayanad in view of forthcoming 2026 Assembly elections in state.

On Monday evening, Rahul in a briefing to reporters expressed his gratitude to Wayanad’s contribution in his political career. “The people of Wayanad gave me support and energy to fight at a very difficult time. I will never forget that. I will continue to visit Wayanad, after by polls and ensure that promises made would be fulfilled,” said the Gandhi scion. ‘Both Rae Bareli and Wayanad will get two MPs,’ said Rahul in a lighter vein.

Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also promised to the people of Waynad that she would not let them feel Rahul’s absence. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had entered active politics in 2019 but had refrained from contesting polls and preferred to manage party affairs in Uttar Pradesh.

Candidature of Priyanka Gandhi most discussed in 2019, 2024 polls

In 2019 as well as 2024, her name had been in the air for contesting from Varanasi, Amethi or Rae Barelli constituency. However, finally she chose to contest by poll in Waynad, a safer option by all measures.

In the 2024 polls, she had stationed herself in Amethi to ensure win of family loyalist KL Sharma against BJP’s Smriti Irani. areli wins.

Rahul Gandhi had first contested and won from Wayanad in 2019, which ensured that he found a seat in the Lok Sabha as he lost from Amethi, a seat he had represented since 2004.

Rules for vacating one of the two seats

In 18th Lok Sabha, Rahul won from Rae Bareli by 3,90,000 votes while the winning margin in Wayanad was 364,422. According to rules, an MP elected from two seats has to vacate one within 14 days of announcement of results, which is June 18. By preferring UP’s Rae Barelli seat over Waynad, Rahul has joined a list of politicians who have contested from two seats, and later vacated one of it.

Safe Game: Contest on two seats, quit one post results

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, at different junctures in their electoral outings, contested on two Lok Sabha seats in two states, one of which was in UP. Post results, when rules compelled them to quit one of the seats, all of them made the same choice of retaining the UP seat.

In 1991, Vajpayee quit Gandhinagar to retain Lucknow. In 1999, Sonia resigned from Bellary to keep Amethi. In 2014, Modi vacated the Vadodara seat to retain Varanasi. However, Indira Gandhi, in 1980, resigned from Rae Bareli to retain Andhra Pradesh’s (now in Telangana) Medak.

The decision was taken at a meeting at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence which was attended by chairperson of Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and party general secretary KC Venugopal. Sources claimed that discussion of Rahul Gandhi being made Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

It may be mentioned that in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls, Congress had sent Sonia Gandhi to Rajya Sabha. She had won from Rae Bareli in all General elections from 2004 to 2019, including in a by-poll in 2006.

Feroze Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have represented Rae Bareli on several occasions between 1951-52 and 2019.

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