In Wayanad constituency, UDF confident of an encore, while LDF and NDA highlight a clutch of issues

CPI’s Annie Raja hopes the early start will give her an advantage, while the success of Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow has enthused the UDF camp. The BJP is highlighting the ‘anti-people’ policies of the State government.

Updated - April 08, 2024 11:19 am IST

Published - April 07, 2024 07:28 pm IST - KALPETTA

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi distributing election manifesto among residents of the Maravayalm Paniya tribal hamlet, near Kalpetta, in Wayanad district

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi distributing election manifesto among residents of the Maravayalm Paniya tribal hamlet, near Kalpetta, in Wayanad district | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The lush green tea gardens are a fascinating sight for anyone travelling on the Kozhikode-Ooty interstate highway. However, the beauty does not reflect on the lives of the workers at these estates.

LDF candidate and CPI leader Annie Raja along with tea estate workers at Chundale in Wayanad district during her election campaigning.

LDF candidate and CPI leader Annie Raja along with tea estate workers at Chundale in Wayanad district during her election campaigning. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

When Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Annie Raja, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, arrived at a tea estate near Chundale around 8 a.m. as part of her campaigning, she got a taste of their troubles. The women were just starting to pluck the leaves, unmindful of the blistering morning sun, and they filled her in on their plight, including low wages, the wretched condition of accommodation in estates, and the dearth of medical care facilities in the plantation sector. She spent nearly three hours with them and promised to raise the issues in Parliament if elected.

Ms. Raja hopes that her early entry into the fray will reap benefits. “We are mainly focussing on door-to-door visits as my second phase campaigning is nearing completion,” Ms. Raja says.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) camp is in an elated mood following the mega roadshow organised by Congress leader and incumbent MP Rahul Gandhi, along with his sister and All India Congress Committee general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, here last week in connection with the filing of his nomination.

At tribal hamlets

After submitting his nomination, Mr. Gandhi, along with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K.C. Venugopal, went directly to the Maravayal Paniya tribal settlement, near Munderi, here. The duo presented the election manifesto of the Congress titled Nyay Patra and explained to the tribespeople the promises in it.

The ‘anti-people’ policies of the Union and State governments are the major issues being raised by the Congress. The party has launched a youth campaign titled ‘Street with Rahul Gandhi’ and is organising door-to-door visits by party workers, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president T. Siddique, MLA, said.

NDA candidate and BJP State president K.Surendran visiting the Chundappadi tribal hamlet, near Kallur, in Wayanad district.

NDA candidate and BJP State president K.Surendran visiting the Chundappadi tribal hamlet, near Kallur, in Wayanad district. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

K. Surendran, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate has completed his first round of campaigning. He is focussing on the ‘anti-people’ policies of the State government and the incumbent MP’s ‘apathy’ to the constituency’s development. A four-pronged strategy for the development of the constituency is highlighted in his campaign planks.

Main issues

Apart from the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), recurring human-wildlife conflicts, night traffic ban in Bandipur Tiger Reserve on National Highway 766 and Mananthavady-Bavali interstate highway, dearth of medical facilities, delay in realising the Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line, and alternative roads to Wayanad dominate the poll scene.

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