Thiruvananthapuram: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's arrival has set the stage for intense poll battle in one of the 'freshest' constituencies of Kerala. By selecting Wayanad as Gandhi's second seat, the party pins high hopes on the region that has stood by the Congress for nearly a decade.
The constituency, bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, is spread across three districts — Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram. It holds 13,25,788 voters comprising 6,55,786 men and 6,70,002 women. Out of the seven Assembly seats in Wayanad district, four are with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the rest belongs to United Democratic Front (UDF).
Congress's MI Shanavas had given a tough race to the opponents in 2009 and 2014. In 2014, he had garnered a whopping 3,77,035 votes from the seat. However, with his death in November last year, a box of uncertainties opened for Congress as it needs to ensure victory in the North Kerala stronghold.
Indian Union Muslim League, which enjoys support of sizable Christian and Muslim population of the area, believes that Gandhi's presence in the electoral scene of Kerala would make their task more relaxed in the region, and electrify the UDF across the state.
Gandhi may face is the Indian Union Muslim League as the area has a sizable Christian and Muslim population that supports IUML.
The Congress is seeking to make significant gains in southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu along with its allies in the Lok Sabha elections. The senior party leaders said that one of the reasons for selecting Wayanad was also that the town is surrounded by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
"In a way it'll satisfy the requests of three southern states, former defence minister A K Antony said. So one of the major reason for consideration was that it's a tri-junction of three southern states, he said.