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Lok Sabha polls: Congress to contest 16 seats in Kerala, state unit urges Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad

The grand old party will announce the candidates for the seats soon, party spokesperson informed. The announcements were made by UDF chairman and Opposition Leader V D Satheesan during a press conference here, which was also attended by KPCC chief K Sudhakaran.

Hritika Mitra Edited By: Hritika Mitra @MitraHritika Thiruvananthapuram Published on: February 28, 2024 16:29 IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Image Source : PTI Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

The Congress has announced that the Party will contest 16 seats in Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and the allocation of seats within the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has been finalised. Meanwhile, Kerala unit of the party has urged Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad which he currently represents in the Lok Sabha in the forthcoming general elections.

The party already has a clear understanding of its candidates, and their names will be announced soon, it said. The grand-old party also made it clear that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest coalition partner in the front, has been convinced about the practical difficulty of allotting one more Lok Sabha seat this time.

The announcements were made by UDF chairman and Opposition Leader V D Satheesan during a press conference here, which was also attended by KPCC chief K Sudhakaran. Like in the previous elections, the IUML would contest in two seats -- Malappuram and Ponnani-- in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the Congress will contest in 16 seats, IUML- 2, KCJ (J) - 1 and RSP-1. "As per the discussions held within the UDF, the Congress will contest in 16 seats, the IUML in Malappuram and Ponnani, the RSP in Kollam and the Kerala Congress (J) in Kottayam," Satheesan said.

The IUML leadership recently made it clear that they demanded one more Lok Sabha seat this time and said they won't backtrack from their decision. Admitting that the IUML had demanded a third seat during the discussions, Satheesan said the Congress party is also of the opinion that the League deserves this. But, the IUML leadership was convinced about the difficulty of allotting more seats in the present circumstances, the LoP explained.

"Instead of that, the Congress has decided to give the next Rajya Sabha seat that becomes vacant to the IUML," he said. During the discussions with the constituent parties, the UDF decided to strengthen the INDIA alliance by going ahead with the activities of winning all 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, he said.

Satheesan also said there is a public sentiment in Kerala against the Central and state governments. Congress sources here said the LoP and the KPCC chief would soon go to New Delhi to finalise the party candidates. The announcement of the candidates would be made in the national capital, they added.

Congress' Kerala unit urges Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad

The Congress' Kerala unit said the party leadership has urged former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad which he currently represents in the Lok Sabha in the forthcoming general elections. Indicating that a final decision is yet to be taken on Gandhi's constituency, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan said the party's national leadership and the central election committee would decide in this regard.

He said that the party's state unit strongly demanded the national leadership that Gandhi contest from Wayanad. "The Kerala unit of the Congress party, not just the KPCC but the entire UDF, has demanded that he contest from Wayanad," Satheesan said.

When reporters pointed out that CPI's national leader Annie Raja would be contesting from the seat, he said though the Congress and the Left party were members of the INDIA alliance at the national level, it doesn't matter while contesting from Kerala. "The political situation in Kerala is different. Everybody knows this," he said. The LoP also pointed out that the CPI was with the Congress at the national level during the previous Lok Sabha polls also.

"If such a thing had happened in Tamil Nadu, would the candidates of the CPI(M) do the same thing in Kerala?" he asked and said things were different here. Gandhi won by a massive majority of over four lakh votes from Wayanad in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

(With inputs from PTI)

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