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6-min read

News18 Daybreak | Rahul Gandhi’s Nomination Filing from Wayanad Today and Other Stories to Watch Out For

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Updated:April 4, 2019, 8:33 AM IST
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News18 Daybreak | Rahul Gandhi’s Nomination Filing from Wayanad Today and Other Stories to Watch Out For
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. (Photo: INC/Twitter)

What to Watch Out For

Rahul Gandhi’s nomination filing from Wayanad today, Priyanka to accompany

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is all set to file his nomination from his second seat of choice, Kerala’s Wayanad, today. His nomination filing comes even as his rival in his home borough of Amethi, BJP’s Smriti Irani begins campaigning in the constituency.

Rahul Gandhi’s sister and AICC general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi will be accompanying the party chief. The two leaders are slated to embark on a massive roadshow from Kozhikode to Wayanad ahead of the filing.

Rahul Gandhi’s decision to battle it out on another seat, which is over 2000 km away from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, is significant of the party’s efforts to boost its performance in the southern state which send 130 seats to the lower house.

The arrival: Rahul Gandhi arrived in Kozhikode on Wednesday night and was met by hundreds of zealous Congress workers and workers of their alliance partner in the state – the Indian Union Muslim League.

Rahul was also received by Chennithala, Oommen Chandy, Mullappally Ramachandran, IUML leaders PK Kunhalikutty and ET Muhammed Basheer.

The rivals: Rahul will be going head-to-head with Saritha Nair, the prime accused in the multi-crore scandal, who is fighting as an independent candidate and BJP-backed National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Thushar Vellapally.

Nair, who had accused several high profile Congress leaders in the state of sexual harassment and rape, decided to take on the Gandhi scion as a mark of her protest "for not responding to her letters that sought action against the party leaders facing charges".

The new entrant is also contesting from Ernakulum.

The rival NDA camp’s Thushar Vellapally, who is the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) vice president, is also making his electoral debut. NDA was forced to shift Vellapally’s constituency from Thrissur to Wayanad after Congress chief zeroed-in on the constituency as his second seat.

Thushar is the son of Vellappally Natesan, the general secretary of BDJS’ parent organisation - Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, which works for the welfare of Ezhava community, a backward caste with sizeable population in the state.

Wayanad’s woes: Squeezed between the forests and the hilly parts of Western Ghats, Wayanad is known for its rolling hills, a wide range of spices, best quality south Indian coffee and a unique variety of rice.

But, the farmers of the picturesque district in Kerala are immersed in huge debts and are living in dire poverty, especially after the deadly deluge in 2018. However, hope resides in them, especially after Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from their constituency.

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Kirit Somaiya, prominent BJP leader in Mumbai, dropped from list of contenders after ally Shiv Sena's opposition

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File photo of BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.

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In its Lok Sabha election manifesto released on Tuesday afternoon, the Congress promised “to double the allocation for education to 6 per cent of the GDP in five years” if voted to power. While the promise made by the Congress could prove to be a major boost for the education sector in the country, growth of public expenditure on education over the last couple of years shows that it would be an uphill task for any government that comes to power. Read Fazil Khan’s analysis here.

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