April 25, 2024
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for contesting Lok Sabha elections in Wayanad where Annie Raja of Communist Party of India (CPI) is a candidate too.

Vijayan’s Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Congress and the CPI are all part of the Opposition INDIA bloc. “Rahul Gandhi is coming to Kerala and contesting against Annie Raja. She is a national leader of the CPI. She was called anti-national during the Manipur violence for strongly calling out the BJP government’s wrongdoing. It was her fact-finding system that brought to light the cruelty of the Christian population. What was the role of Rahul Gandhi in that? Can he say anything about that?” said Vijayan at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram.

Vijayan accused the Congress, India’s main Opposition party, of unreliability and said Gandhi is challenging the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which governs Kerala, by entering the fray in Wayanad.

“When the country saw many such protests, we could always see Annie Raja present there. But did we see the most important leader of Congress, Rahul Gandhi? They can decide who will contest from where, but the inappropriateness was discussed by the entire country. Everybody is questioning his decision to come to Kerala but not competing against the BJP directly at the centre,” he added.

Congress leaders defecting to the BJP tarnishes the Opposition party’s reliability at a critical juncture when “secular forces” are confronting the saffron party’s dominance in the country, he said.

Lok Sabha elections 2024

Polling for the Lok Sabha elections will be conducted in seven phases, with the first phase scheduled for April 19. In addition to voting for the 543 Lok Sabha seats, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Odisha, as well as assembly by-polls for 26 vacant seats.

Kerala, which has 20 Lok Sabha seats, will go to polls in a single phase on April 26. Counting of votes will take place nationwide on June 4.

First Published: Apr 02 2024 | 1:16 PM IST