Annie Raja interview | ‘Fascism has reached its extreme in the country’

Annie Raja, who is contesting 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad constituency in Kerala, shares her perspectives on upcoming polls, why she is optimistic about the prospects of Left front in Kerala and taking on Rahul Gandhi

April 09, 2024 02:48 pm | Updated 03:09 pm IST - KALPETTA

Annie Raja, CPI leader and general secretary of National Federation of Indian Women, who is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. (file)

Annie Raja, CPI leader and general secretary of National Federation of Indian Women, who is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. (file) | Photo Credit: PTI

The Left front has fielded Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Annie Raja, a seasoned politician and general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women, for the 2024 Parliament elections in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala in a bid to wrest the seat currently held by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

In an interview with The Hindu, Ms. Raja shares her perspectives on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, why she is optimistic about the prospects of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the 20 Parliament constituencies in Kerala and taking on Rahul Gandhi.

How confident are you of defeating the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala considering Rahul Gandhi was elected from the Wayanad constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a massive margin of over 4 lakh votes?

We are confident that we can win the elections. I have came here to contest and win. Mr. Gandhi was projected as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 elections but, the situation has changed considerably now. The major challenge the country now faces is it is slowly moving towards tyranny, but the Congress and its national leaders refuse to recognise this. Fascism has reached its extreme in the country, and all the people should fight against fascist forces. The forthcoming elections is the final chance to defeat fascist movements, and the voters should utilise the opportunity.

Do you feel any discomfiture in a contest between two candidates of the same alliance (INDIA bloc), that too national leaders?

Mr. Gandhi is one of the national leaders of the INDIA alliance and he may feel the discomfiture. The Left front had announced its candidates before the election schedule was announced. Moreover, the Left leaders had opined that Mr. Gandhi should not contest from Wayanad. Despite all this, the Congress announced his candidature against a Left front candidate, a major alliance of the India bloc. Who is he trying to defeat now? The fascist forces, or is he trying to gain a victory over a single seat? The narrow-mindedness of some Congress leaders in Kerala led to this crisis. They have no broader vision or interest in protecting our Constitution.

How do you assess the performance of Mr. Gandhi as an MP representing the Wayanad constituency since 2019?

The voters have the right to assess him. In my interactions with voters over the past many weeks, I have learnt that they are disappointed with Mr. Gandhi. He could not rise with their aspirations and failed to interact with the voters after the elections. Most of the voters asked me if I were elected, would I be with the voters? The long-term absence of the incumbent MP might be the reason for their doubts. The anti-incumbency factor is strong among the voters and it will be reflected in the election results. 

Will the recent controversies such as the use of Rahul Gandhi’s posters alone instead of flags of the Congress and its ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) during a roadshow by Mr. Gandhi and issues related to the implementation of CAA benefit the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) electoral prospects?

For any party worker, holding their flag is a proud moment, especially during a national leader filing his nomination. But the Congress leaders feared that the Sangh Parivar forces would unleash a campaign, similar to one in the previous General Election, in North-Indian States that the Congress and the IUML workers held flags of Pakistan during the roadshow in Wayanad. The Congress leaders has to counter this propaganda, instead of surrendering before the Sangh Parivar. But what happened recently only gives a message that Mr. Gandhi is incapable of protecting or holding their flags.

The enactment of the CAA has aggravated the fear and anxiety of the minorities. All these issues have disappointed the voters, especially minorities, but we cannot predict if it will be turned into votes.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.