Wayanad welcomes its 'princess' Priyanka to her electoral baptism

While Rahul Gandhi focuses on the North, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has agreed to contest the by-polls from Wayanad, which he won alongside Rae Bareli

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to contest the by-polls in Wayanad, vacated by Rahul (photo: @SupriyaShrinate/X)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to contest the by-polls in Wayanad, vacated by Rahul (photo: @SupriyaShrinate/X)

Alex Chandy

The Congress in Kerala wasted no time coining a slogan after party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s name for the Wayanad constituency vacated by Rahul Gandhi.

Both the Congress and Rahul chose to keep the Rae Bareli seat which is a family pocket borough. Kerala Congress members consider Priyanka an Indira Gandhi 2.0. “This is the second coming of Indira Gandhi,” they said when Priyanka finally decided to say yes to her political baptism.

“Priyanka resembles her grandmother and that makes her adorable,“ say the women of Wayanad.

A poster of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Kerala, with the legend 'Wayanad welcomes its princess' (photo: Alex Chandy)
A poster of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Kerala, with the legend 'Wayanad welcomes its princess' (photo: Alex Chandy)

They are happy she is contesting the seat and hope to vote in greater numbers this time. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has visited this constituency several times with Rahul for rallies and road shows. Although she has been campaigning for her mother Sonia, brother Rahul and the party since 2004, it is now, after 20 years, that she has decided to finally take the candidacy plunge herself, however.

The Malayalees have a soft corner for the Gandhis.

All are, therefore, happy that Priyanka chose this picturesque hilly district of Wayanad to begin her political career.

While Rahul has kept Rae Bareli to consolidate the party’s gains in Uttar Pradesh from the recent elections, he will be available to the people of the Kerala district as well.

He told the people of Kerala, “You will have two MPs from Wayanad. My sister will be there and you can count me as the second MP. I have an emotional connection here and I cannot give up on that.”

Priyanka’s presence in Kerala is also expected to be a booster to the party in the state.

The Congress leaders were keen to have her as the candidate in the event of the seat being vacated by Rahul. Her victory is regarded as a foregone conclusion here and yet it will be historic, with the brother–sister duo and the mother all entering Parliament in their different capacities.

Kerala Congress workers say the move to field Priyanka from Wayanad was well conceived. While Rahul concentrates more on the North, Priyanka can do likewise in the South. “We were not happy about Rahul vacating Wayanad. When the news went around in the party circles, it was dismaying, to say the least. But when Priyanka’s name was announced, it was celebration time once again,” said KPCC executive member K.L. Paulose.

“The people of Wayanad will ensure victory for Priyanka with a bigger margin," said Paulose.

Keralites don’t think parivarvaad (dynastic candidacy) is an issue at all. Never mind what the BJP and others might say, it is the people who decide who they want and their decision is final — that much is true.

"How can the BJP even afford to talk of parivaar?" Paulose asked. A meeting of the Wayanad DCC was held this morning to discuss the new candidacy, he said, adding there is no information yet about Priyanka’s visit to the constituency. However, he added:

Wayanad is not new for Priyanka and Priyanka is not new to Wayanad.

"She has visited the district several times after 2019 and has often interacted with the officebearers of the party and the locals too. She knows the district like the back of her hand and therefore is fully aware of the problems,” Kalpetta MLA T. Siddique also told a news channel.

And he predicted that she will win by over 5 lakh votes! That’s how popular she is.

He too dismissed the 'parivaar' allegations, often heard when the Gandhis are mentioned, as a case of the pot that is the BJP calling the kettle black.

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