Before the much-awaited contest of Wayanad in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 23, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani will address public rallies in the constituency on Saturday.
In perhaps the showpiece battle of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Union Minister Smriti Irani is once again contesting against Rahul Gandhi in the Congress bastion of Amethi. While Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress' general secretary of UP East, has not announced her candidacy, she has been actively involved in the Congress campaign.
Priyanka Gandhi has a public meeting scheduled at Manathanvady, after which she will meet the family of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Jawan Vasanthkumar who was martyred in the Pulwama terror attack. Later she will attend a farmers rally and then go to Malappuram district, where there are two Assembly constituencies that are part of the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.
Union Minister Irani, meanwhile, will hold a roadshow in Wayanad and will address public gatherings.
In Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi's main opponents are NDA's Tushar Vellapally and CPI's P.P. Suneer. The constituency of Wayanad, formed in 2008 has been a Congress stronghold, currently has a Congress sitting MP, Shanavas, who secured a vote-share of 30.18%, followed by a CPI candidate with 28.51%.
Following Rahul Gandhi's candidacy, CM of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan vowed to defeat him in the state. Fielding CPI's P P Suneer, CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy had said the Left Front would make all efforts to defeat the Congress in Wayanad. The BJP and Rahul Gandhi's opponent in Amethi, Smriti Irani, had criticised him by saying that 'he ran away fearing defeat'.