Congress keeps State guessing

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Clears candidates for all segments in south India, except Wayanad, Vadakara

The Congress party has cleared the candidate lists for all constituencies in south India, except Wayanad and Vadakara, leaving open the possibilities for All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi contesting from the State.

Senior party leaders here assertively say that Mr. Gandhi would contest in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency and the announcement will be made without further delay.

It was expected that the party would announce Mr. Gandhi’s Wayanad contest soon after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting and the Central Election Committee’s (CEC) sitting. Sources said that the CWC did not discuss the issue and it was left to the CEC to make the announcement.

Reasons

They attributed two reasons for the delay in announcing Mr. Gandhi’s Wayanad contest. One is that the CWC preferred to give importance to the release of party’s election manifesto and did not want to lose the political mileage and media coverage it would get.

The second major reason is related to the confusion regarding Congress party’s approach towards prospective alliances in the post-election period in the event of a hung parliament.

For Kerala leaders, Mr. Gandhi’s contest would give the UDF an edge in all the 20 seats in the State since the fight is primarily between the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF. The party’s Kerala unit is not driven as much by the Congress High Command’s strident anti-BJP position at the national level because the BJP is not a threat in Kerala.

A senior Congress leader said it was natural for the party leadership to take time and weigh the pros and cons of fielding its top-most ranking leader.

He said he did not perceive any setback for the UDF in these two seats because of the delay.

Hails manifesto

The United Democratic Front on Monday hailed the election Manifesto of the Congress party, terming it ‘revolutionary’ since it proposed to demolish the wall between the rich and the power.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced the main features of the the party’s manifesto in Delhi on Monday.

The manifesto promised ₹72,000 to poor families, benefiting over 25 crore people. In a facebook post, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the assurance was not like the one made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who declared that black money stashed in Swiss banks would be impounded and ₹15 lakh each would be deposited in the account of each Indian Citizen. “This was the promise of a leader of a party which had conceived and implemented innovative programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme,” he said in his post.

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