Smriti Irani Takes a Dig at 'Rahul from Kerala' Demand, Congress Taunts Her Over MP Post

Union minister Smriti Irani during an interview with CNN-News18.

Union minister Smriti Irani during an interview with CNN-News18.

Congress leaders from down South have been persistently inviting Rahul Gandhi. While Dinesh Gundu Rao asked Gandhi to contest from Karnataka, the Kerala Congress has been trying to convince him to fight from Wayanad.

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New Delhi: Amid demand for Congress president Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad, Smriti Irani took a dig at Amethi MP and said that after being rejected by people of his constituency, Gandhi staged the call from Kerala.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Saturday evening confirmed that party workers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had urged Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha from these states.

According to sources, the party president had earlier turned down the request, saying he did not know much about the Wayanad constituency, which is an important Congress seat. However, Kerala leaders were "looking at the possibility" of Gandhi's candidature from the state which has 20 seats and where Congress-led UDF and CPIM-led LDF are in engaged in an indirect fight.

Targeting Gandhi over speculations, Irani tweeted that after being rejected by people of his constituency, the leader "staged" the call for candidature. The minister tweeted the message with hashtag "bhaag Rahul bhaag".

The comment prompted Surjewala to remind Irani of how she was forced out of both Chandni Chowk and Amethi, yet she "always managed to become an MP" from Rajya Sabha.

The minister had fought elections unsuccessfully against Kapil Sibal in Delhi's Chandni Chowk and Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. However, after her debacle in 2014 Irani has been visiting Gandhi's constituency in a bid to boost the developmental process, which she accuses the Congress president did not pay much attention to over the past years.

The Congress earlier this month had announced that Gandhi will contest from his bastion Amethi and Sonia Gandhi from Raebareli, also in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP on Thursday once again fielded Irani against the grand old party chief.

Reacting to the proposal by the Kerala unit, ruling CPI-M said it was due to "apprehension" of Gandhi's defeat in his Amethi. CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the self-confidence of the Congress seems to have waned which was why the party wants Gandhi to contest from Amethi and Wayanad.

Wayanad is a traditional Congress stronghold and the party is certain of its win from the seat. However, this time the seat created trouble as two different groups within the party fought to contest from there. This tug-of-war happened between a group led by former CM Oommen Chandy and another led by Ramesh Chennithala.

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