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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Lok Sabha elections: CPI fields senior leader Annie Raja from Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad seat

The CPI’s Kerala state secretary, Binoy Viswam, on Monday announced the names of four candidates from the party for the upcoming general election

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 27.02.24, 05:26 AM
(Left) Annie Raja.

(Left) Annie Raja. File picture.

The CPI has picked senior leader Annie Raja to contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency even as the Congress continues to debate whether it would field Rahul Gandhi from the Kerala seat for a second time.

The CPI’s Kerala state secretary, Binoy Viswam, on Monday announced the names of four candidates from the party for the upcoming general election.

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Senior leader Pannyan Raveendran will contest from Thiruvananthapuram, former agriculture minister V.S. Sunil Kumar will be fielded from Thrissur while C.A. Arun Kumar will contest from the Mavelikkara seat.

Wayanad was catapulted into fame when Rahul chose to contest from there apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 parliamentary elections. While Rahul lost Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani, the people of Wayanad elected him by a record margin of 431,770 votes over his nearest CPI rival.

Asked if she had herself chosen the seat, Annie told The Telegraph: “It’s not my decision; it’s the party’s decision. In the last 40 to 45 years, I have been given organisational responsibilities. I am currently in charge of Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, and also have the responsibility to fight for women. As a disciplined cadre, I accept this electoral responsibility given by the party.”

Annie’s native district of Kannur is adjacent to Wayanad. Asked if the CPI had spoken to the Congress before declaring her candidature, she said it hadn’t.

Asked whether contesting against a key leader of a national ally would upset Opposition unity, she replied: “In Kerala, it is the LDF (Left Democratic Front) versus the UDF (United Democratic Front). In the seat-sharing for INDIA, it was made clear that these two fronts would contest on their own in Kerala. It is not about us attacking each other as individuals. It is about convincing voters that the LDF has taken a position for the people and we are frontally attacking the BJP and the RSS, fearlessly. No IB or ED can terrorise us....

“The focus is on the BJP as this is a national election. I will also talk about the UDF’s position, such as its negative role when the LDF has been campaigning for the Centre to give Kerala its dues. We must expose the Congress in Kerala in this regard.”

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