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Rahul, Annie Raja file nomination papers from Wayanad

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) workers came out in thousands to accompany Rahul Gandhi in filing the nomination papers from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday.

Rahul along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrived in a helicopter from Kozhikode to file the nomination papers. After landing at the Muppainad Ripon helipad at 10 am, they joined thousands of workers for the massive roadshow that winded through the streets of Kalpetta. Rahul and Priyanka were accompanied by K C Venugopal, V D Satheeshan and Ramesh Chennithala on the open vehicle as workers cheered them all through the route.

After the completion of the roadshow, Rahul spoke to the workers. He said he doesn’t view the people of Wayanad as just voters but his own family. “I treat you all like my little sister Priyanka. I am committed to addressing the issues of the people of Wayanad and will always be at the forefront to help. It is a great honour to be an MP from Wayanad,” he said.

Rahul also emphasised that addressing the human-wildlife conflict, which has resulted in numerous casualties in the constituency, will be one of his top priorities as MP from Wayanad.

After the roadshow, Rahul went straight to the Collectorate to file his nomination papers. In the presence of Priyanka Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders, he submitted three sets of nomination papers to district collector Renu Raj.

Due to the controversy in 2019 when BJP propaganda labelled Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) green flags as Pakistani flags, this time the UDF leadership decided to avoid party flags altogether during the roadshow. Instead, the workers carried placards and banners in place of flags.

After filing his nomination papers, Rahul made a brief visit to a nearby tribal colony at Munderi and met a section of residents. He also met Jayaprakash, father of Siddharthan, 20, a second-year student at Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, in Wayanad district who was found hanging in the hostel washroom on February 18. The postmortem examination revealed the horrific torture that the student underwent before his death.

“He spoke to me like a brother and assured all help in our fight for justice,” Jayaprakash said.

This was Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Wayanad after the declaration of Lok Sabha polls. The Congress leader will return to Wayanad on April 15 and spend seven days leading the campaigning in the constituency.

Annie Raja files nomination papers

Meanwhile, the LDF candidate Annie Raja also filed her nomination papers on Wednesday. The LDF organised a roadshow in support of the candidate.

Former MLA C K Saseendran, Santhosh Kumar MP, K K Hamsa and K J Devasya were also present.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan campaigned extensively for Annie Raja the other day addressing three public meetings.

At these public meetings, the chief minister sought to know who Rahul Gandhi was fighting in Wayanad. “Rahul Gandhi is coming to Kerala to contest against Annie Raja. She is a national leader of the CPI who was called anti-national during the Manipur violence and cases of sedition were slapped against her. The fact-finding team led by her brought to light the atrocities against the Christian population. What is the stand of Rahul Gandhi in such matters” he asked.

Pinarayi said though the Congress can decide to field anyone from Wayanad, Rahul’s decision to come to Kerala instead of taking on BJP directly, is being questioned by many across the country.

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