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Wayanad: All you need to know about constituency Rahul Gandhi is contesting from

Congress national president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad in Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, party leader A K Anthony announced on Sunday.

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Rahul Gandhi will contest from Kerala’s Wayanad, a second seat apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. (Photo: File)

Congress national president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad in Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, party leader A K Anthony announced on Sunday. This will be the second seat that Gandhi will be contesting this Parliamentary polls apart from his home turf Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Where is Wayanad located?

Wayanad is in north Kerala where it shares its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 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.

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What are the issues plaguing Wayanad?

One of the prominent agrarian belts of Kerala, Wayanad revenue district constitutes a major chunk of the constituency.  According to the latest Census, only 3.86 per cent of the population here live in urban areas. Wayanad is one of the largest pepper-growing districts in the country. Coffee is the other major crop cultivated here and several coffee-growing areas were ravaged by 2018 floods. A farm sector crisis in 2005-07 also led to a number of farmer suicides.

What is the total number of voters in Wayanad?

The total number of voters in the Wayanad Parliamentary constituency is 13,25,788 among which 6,55,786 are male and 6,70,002 female. However, there are no third gender electors.

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When will Wayanad go to polls?

Wayanad will go to polls in the third phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections on April 23.

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When was Wayanad constituency formed?

The Wayanad seat came into existence in 2009 after the delimitation of constituencies.

What happened in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections?

The total voter turnout at Wayanad in 2009 Lok Sabha elections was 74.74 per cent. Senior Congress leader M I Shanavas won the first election in 2009, defeating the CPI’s M Rahmathulla by a margin of 1.5 lakh votes. Rahamatulla polled 42.31 per cent respectively, coming second to Congress’s Shanavas who polled 49.86 per cent. Shanavas retained the seat in 2014 elections, in which the total voter turnout was 73.23.

However, Shanavas’ margin dipped drastically to just over 20,000 votes. This time he polled 41.21 per cent votes, followed by LDF 38.9 per cent. In contrast, the BJP, got less than 10 per cent votes both times and is seen as a nobody there. Shanavas died in November 2018. As less than six months were left before the Lok Sabha elections, no by-poll was held, and hence, the seat is vacant at present.

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 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.

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Who are the other candidates contesting from Wayanad?

The main opposition, LDF has fielded CPI’s P P Suneer in the Wayanad seat this year. The BJP has allotted Wayanad to its ally, the BDJS, which is yet to announce its candidate.