The Congress president and Nehru-Gandhi scion has been elected to the Parliament from his traditional Amethi seat for three terms in a row. This Lok Sabha elections, however, Gandhi took the advice of his party workers and chose to contest from Wayanad in Kerala in addition to his stronghold.
It is a move that has at once energised Congress cadres across South India and handed the BJP armament to attack Gandhi as well. The Congress president's decision was followed by accusations that he was running away, scared that BJP's Smriti Irani, who came a bit too close for comfort in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, might just defeat him this time. PM Narendra Modi even raised a few eyebrows when he said in a rally that Gandhi was running away from a seat with majority Hindu population to one where Hindus were a minority. Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad has also caused cracks in the Congress-Left relationship.
The good news for Gandhi is that Wayanad is as safe as it could get for Congress in Kerala. Since the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency was formed in 2009, it has elected a Congress leader in both 2009 and 2014 general elections. It also has a majority Muslim population, a community that is a traditional voter base for the grand old party. But, his responsibilities in Wayanad, in addition to him campaigning across the country, might end up harming him in Amethi.