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In a move that hints at more rifts in the Congress-led Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, the CPI(M) today announced its candidate fro the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, curently held by Rahul Gandhi. The CPI(M) indirectly asked Congress to vacate the seat for the Left pary. The move puts the Congress on backfoot once again as the INDIA bloc parties have been posing a new challenge to the grand old party every other day.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, “CPI has declared its candidate for the seat in Wayanad, Comrade Annie Raja, who has played a key role in ‘Mahila Andholan’. Now she will be the candidate from the side of the whole LDF. Rahul Gandhi and Congress need to think, they say that their fight is against BJP. In Kerala, if you come and fight against Left, what message are you giving? So they need to think about their seat once again.”

In the 2019 elections, the CPI had fielded 4 candidates but lost on all seats. Of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, Congress bagged 15, the Indian Union Muslim League two and the CPI(M), KC(M), and RSP won 1 seat each.  

Kerala Dare For Congress

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has announced its first list of four candidates for Lok Sabha elections in Kerala yesterday. The CPI fielded Pannian Raveendran from Thiruvananthapuram, Annie Raja from Wayanad, VS Sunil Kumar from Thrissur and Arun Kumar from Mavelikara. Notably, all of the four seats are currently held by the Congress party – Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad and Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram, T. N. Prathapan from Thrissur and Kodikunnil Suresh from the Mavelikara seat. By announcing the candidate for these seats first, CPI has played a similar card like Akhilesh Yadav did in Uttar Pradesh. Now, the ball is in Congress party’s court whether it accepts or rejects the Left party’s offer.

The Left party has urged Congress to not contest from Kerala and insteat focus on North where the BJP is very strong. Just like Trinamool Congress in Bengal, Left and its allies want Congress to leave Kerala to them only. 

Congress On Backfoot

Congress is already on a backfoot when it comes to seat sharing as part of the INDIA bloc. While Mamata Banerjee has already refused to ally with Congress or Left in Bengal saying that TMC will contest all 42 seats alone against the BJP. Similarly, the AAP said that it will contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab alone. While the AAP and SP sealed seat sharing deal with Congress for some states, that made Congress minorty shareholder. In Uttar Pradesh, Congress has just got 17 seats out of the 80 while in Delhi, it has got 3 out of seven seats.

Will Rahul Gandhi Quit Wayanad?

It’s unlikely that Rahul Gandhi will leave the Wayanad seat. Recently, Rahul Gandhi rushed to the Wayanad after elephant attacks happened in the region. Also, Gandhi won from the Wayanad seat but lost from Amethi. There are very low chances of Rahul Gandhi contesting from Amethi once again. Thus, it’s likely that while Congress may agree to take one or two step back in Kerala to appease the Left, but it may go for a friendly fight from the Wayanad seat.