Campaigning for the Congress in Maharashtra, party chief Rahul Gandhi addressed a public rally at Nagpur’s Kasturchand Park today. Gandhi told the crowd that unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi he did not believe in lying as lies get caught. He also said that he was not in a hurry and that he is in politics for the long haul. “I want to build a long-standing relationship with you. I will not speak lies. Modi has grown old and is in a hurry. So he is telling lies,” Gandhi was quoted as saying by PTI.
Addressing the press after filing his nomination, Rahul Gandhi said, “I know the Congress and the CPM are locked in a fight in Kerala. This fight will go on. I understand that my brothers and sisters in CPM will fight me, attack me, but I will never say a word against them in my campaign. My motto is to send a message of unity and peace in South India.”
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During the roadshow, Gandhi and Priyanka waved to the crowd. As the vehicle inched forward, Gandhi was seen shaking hands with many elated supporters. Senior Congress leaders including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala also took part in the procession.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination from Kerala's Wayanad today. With sister Priyanka on his side, Rahul also held a roadshow earlier in the day. Follow LIVE updates in Malayalam
Sonia Gandhi to file nomination from Raebareli on April 11
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will file nomination for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on 11th April in Raebareli, while Congress President Rahul Gandhi will file nomination in Amethi a day before. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be present on both the occasions, ANI reported.
Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur. (Image source: ANI)
"Corruption, unemployment and farmers' problems are the priority issues for elections this time, and PM Modi should explain what he has done to tackle them in the last five years," said Gandhi. (PTI)
Congress is about to do a surgical strike on poverty: Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur
Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur: Congress party is about to do a surgical strike on poverty, Narendra Modi ji had promised Rs 15 lakh. Rs 72,000 annually implies, Rs 3,60,000 in 5 years. No matter what, I don't care, my aim is clear. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/02r1SinwSI— ANI (@ANI) April 4, 2019
BJP president Amit Shah's Telangana visit cancelled due to emergency party meet in Delhi
BJP chief Amit Shah cancelled his visit to Telangana which was scheduled today. Shah had to attend an "emergency meeting" on the party's manifesto and poll-related issues, a PTI report quoted top party leader as saying. The Prime Minister, Amit Shah and other leaders held an emergency meeting this morning and discussed manifesto and other issues, party general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said. "Due to delay there, he could not come," Rao told PTI. Lok Sabha polls would be held in Telangana on April 11.
'Nyay' minimum income guarantee scheme to be "surgical strike" on poverty: Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a poll rally in Nagpur said that the ambitious 'Nyay' scheme was finalised only after consulting experts. The Congress, in their manifesto, said if voted to power, guarantees to deposit Rs 72,000 annually under the scheme to poor Indian families. "'Nyay' minimum income guarantee scheme to be "surgical strike" on poverty," he added. (PTI)
Not interested in telling lies like PM Modi: Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur
I am here for the long haul, I am not interested in telling lies like PM Modi. Lies get exposed; Congress wants to work, BJP just makes
hollow claims: Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur (PTI)
Rahul Gandhi thanks people of Wayanad for their 'love' and 'support'
I am overwhelmed by the love and affection of the people of Wayanad in Kerala, where I filed my nomination today for the Lok Sabha. Thank you for your support & warm welcome!— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 4, 2019
I also want to wish the journalists injured in a mishap during our road show a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/MLDAAdeNcc
Congress fields Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath's son Nakul from Chhindwara LS seat
The Congress party has named Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath as a candidate from Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat while Kamal Nath will contest Chhindwara assembly bypoll.
'Will never allow NRC in Bengal' says Mamata Banerjee in Cooch Behar
Addressing a rally in Cooch Behar today, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'Chaiwallah, who failed to fulfil promises, and has now turned into a chowkidar to fool masses.' Taking a strong stance againt the NRC, she said that her party will never allow NRC in Bengal. " Modi is no one to decide who will stay and who will leave," she added. (PTI)
Congress releases its party manifesto in Mumbai
Meanwhile, the Congress party released its party manifesto in Mumbai's Worli today.
‘He won’t let you down’: Priyanka tells voters after Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad
After filing his nomination, Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by Priyanka on a roadshow through the lanes of Wayanad. The AICC chief, along with the state leaders including former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, came out in an open vehicle after the formalities were completed. The brother-sister duo shook hands with supporters and clicked pictures with them. Sharing a picture of the Congress chief at District Collector A R Ajayakumar’s office in Wayanad, Priyanka tweeted, “...Take care of him Wayanad. He won’t let you down'.
Read more here
Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad, says will not speak a word against CPM
Wayanad is home to Kerala’s largest tribal population. Eighteen per cent of the district’s vote share is that of tribals. Rahul Gandhi is pitted against PP Suneer of the CPI and Thushar Vellappally of the NDA. Solar scam accused Saritha Nair will also take on the Congress chief. Claiming that there is a “cultural attack” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS and the government, Rahul said his motto of fighting from Wayanad is to “send a message that India is one.” Read more here
Take care of him Wayanad, he won't let you down: Priyanka Gandhi after Rahul's nomination
After Rahul Gandhi's nomination, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted a picture of him filing the papers, asking Wayanad to take care of him. "My brother, my truest friend, and by far the most courageous man I know. Take care of him Wayanad, he won't let you down," she wrote on Twitter.
My brother, my truest friend, and by far the most courageous man I know. Take care of him Wayanad, he wont let you down. pic.twitter.com/80CxHlP24T— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) April 4, 2019
Want to spread message of peace and unity in South India: Rahul Gandhi
Addressing the media after filing his nomination in Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi said that his motto is to "spread the message of peace and unity across South India. "I understand that CPM will fight me, attack me, but I will never say a word against them. My motto is to send a message of unity and peace across South India. There is a cultural attack against people, languages and ideologies in India. I needed to send a message that India is one country."
Rahul, Priyanka's roadshow ends; duo fly back to Kozhikode
The Congress' show of strength has now come to an end. In the evening, Rahul will address a rally in Maharashtra
Congress' show of strength in Wayanad
The AICC chief, along with the state leaders including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, came out in an open vehicle after Gandhi completed the nomination procedures at the district collectorate As the vehicle inched forward, Gandhi was seen shaking hands with many elated supporters. People were seen clicking photos on their mobile phones and waving flags of the Congress party and its ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad
Rahul Gandhi filed documents to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad. He reached the District Collectorate's office after a roadshow with sister Priyanka Gandhi. A massive crowd of Congress workers and supporters carrying party flags greeted the brother-sister duo as they started their roadshow to mark the beginning of Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad campaign.
Rahul Gandhi reaches Collectorate's office to file his nomination
Rahul Gandhi has reached the District Collectorate office in Wayanad. He is accompanied by sister Priyanka Gandhi and senior Congress leaders. The Congress chief and his sister were greeted by a huge crowd here and he is scheduled to hold a roadshow before filing his papers. Rahul will also meet office bearers of the Congress and parties in the UDF later.
Meet Thushar Vellappally - NDA's candidate against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad
Thushar Vellappally, chief of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), an ally of BJP in Kerala, will take on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. Announcing Thushar’s candidature, Shah further said, “A vibrant and dynamic youth leader, he represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, NDA will emerge as Kerala’s political alternative.”
Thushar Vellappally is the son of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan. The Bharat Dharma Jana Sena was founded by Natesan in 2015. BDJS, which is fighting it’s first Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, has been allotted five seats as per the seat-sharing agreement.
Elephant in the room: Wayanad tribals say chasing away jumbos more important than voting
Another issue plauging the people of Wayanad is attacks by elephants. Tribals constitute around 18 per cent population of the Wayanad district. The Lok Sabha seat has two Assembly segments -- Sultan Bathery and Mananthavadi -- which are reserved for them. "We don't have shelters or good habitation. There are no roads, no proper drinking water. We do not have much hope in them (politicians)," said a tribal man living in the forests of Wayanad. According to a tribal woman, the main issue is fighting elephant attacks. "We face problems due to attacks by elephants at our homes inside the forest. We won't cast vote this time. There is no use of participating in elections," she said. (PTI)
Medical College, railway line: Aspirations of people of Wayanad
With Congress president Rahul Gandhi pitching himself as a candidate from Wayanad, alongside his party’s traditional pocket-borough of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, there is renewed hope among locals that all these demands would be fulfilled by their star candidate.
The hill district, home to verdant coffee and spice plantations and alluring tracts of the Ghats, draws droves of tourists, mostly IT professionals from cities like Bengaluru and Mysuru on weekends.
An advanced public-sector hospital in Wayanad has been a dream for the local people, unfortunately, tangled in bureaucratic red-tape. Land acquisition and finding financial aid for the project has been tardy and hopeless despite a change in governments. Another infrastructure demand in Wayanad is that of a railway line, which if realised, would provide a faster transportation route for the locals as compared to the perennially clogged mountain roads. Read more
Rahul Gandhi called ‘Amul baby’, dairy brand’s cartoon features Congress chief
Amul has a special cartoon for Rahul Gandhi ahead of his nomination. Featuring the 48-year-old, the advertisement says, “Wayanad have it with butter? Amethi ka paratha!” Gandhi is shown in his now signature, crisp white kurta pyjamas. He’s shown holding slices of buttered toasts in each hand, to represent the two constituencies.
The cartoon came just after veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan described Gandhi as an ‘Amul baby’, to convey that the Congress president was immature and inexperienced.
Given it’s the first time Rahul Gandhi will contest from two Lok Sabha seats, and the first time that someone from his family has decided to contest from Kerala, it got everyone talking online.
Congress supporters gather to welcome Rhul Gandhi
Source: Vishnu Varma
Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad nomination an insult to Amethi: Smriti Irani
Ahead of Rahul Gandhi's nomination filing in Wayanad, Smriti Irani - who is pitted against him in his second constituency in Uttar Pradesh - called it an "insult of Amethi." "He enjoyed a position of power for 15 years because of the support from Amethi, but now he is going to file nomination from elsewhere. This is an insult of Amethi and people here will not tolerate this," she said, reported ANI.
Irani, Rahul’s opponent in Amethi, said the people of Amethi had driven him out. Earlier when there were reports of Gandhi picking up a second constituency, Irani said this was being staged because the people had rejected Rahul.
How important is Wayanad seat for the Congress?
The Wayanad seat, won by the Congress twice since its inception, is considered to be a safe turf for the party. The Lok Sabha constituency is spread over three revenue districts of Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram. Seven assembly segments — Kalpetta, Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, Thiruvambady, Nilambur, Eranad and Vandoor comprise these three revenue districts.
The fact that two of the seven Assembly segments – Thiruvambady and Ernad – are considered fortresses of its ally, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), are add-ons to factors strengthening hopes of the party’s victory in the seat. So, Rahul Gandhi choosing to fight elections from the seat can be considered as a safe bet for him.
Rahul Gandhi's chopper to land in Wayanad shortly
Rahul Gandhi who spent the night in Kozhikode's guest house is expected to arrive in Wayanad shortly. He is expected to take a chopper to land here. Priyanka Gandhi is also expected to reach with him. Tight security is in place in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts in view of the high-profile visits.
Where is Wayanad located?
Wayanad is in North Kerala, and shares its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Lok Sabha constituency is spread over the three revenue districts of Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram, and comprises seven Assembly segments — Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad revenue district; Thiruvambady in Kozhikode revenue district; and Nilambur, Eranad and Vandoor in Malappuram revenue district.
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi's posters in Wayanad
In Wayanad, people have strong hope from Rahul Gandhi. While he’s up against CPI candidate PP Suneer and NDA candidate Thushar Vellappally, almost no one on the streets of Kalpetta have an iota of doubt about his chances of winning.
Congress supporters take out rallies ahead of Rahul Gandhi's nomination in Wayanad
Rahul Gandhi arrived in Kerala to a tumultuous welcome by hundreds of party workers. A large number of young party workers holding Congress and ally Indian Union Muslim League flags were seen lustily cheering as Rahul Gandhi came out of the airport. Supporters have already lined up in Wayanad ahead of Rahul's roadshow
Crowds are flowing into Kalpetta, the district headquarters of Wayanad, for @RahulGandhi roadshow in the town. UDF supporters streaming in from neighbouring districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode as well @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/AuEvMYNWc4— Vishnu Varma (@VishKVarma) April 4, 2019
Who is Rahul Gandhi contesting against in Wayanad?
In Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi is pitted against PP Suneer of the CPI and Thushar Vellappally of the NDA. Solar scam accused Saritha Nair will also take on Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. The decision of Gandhi to fight from Wayanad is certainly bad news for the Left in the state, which has been wanting to assert it’s position in the state especially in the backdrop of the floods and the agitation around women’s entry in Sabarimala.
All 20 constituencies in Kerala go to polls on April 23.
Welcome to the live blog. Rahul Gandhi will file his nomination from Kerala's Wayanad today. Before that, Gandhi along with Priyanka Gandhi will lead a roadshow in the constituency. Later in the day, Gandhi will fly to Maharashtra for continuing his election campaign. Follow this space to track the latest developments