By Rohit Thayyil
MALAPPURAM: Braving heavy rains, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi took out a roadshow in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency on Friday, thanking voters for electing him with a massive majority.
Gandhi, who travelled in a special open vehicle along with state Congress leaders, criss-crossed through the narrow lanes of Kalikavu in the district and waved to the huge crowd.
Thousands, including women and children, overcame the downpour to catch a glimpse of the leader who arrived in the high range constituency on a three-day tour for the ceremonial thanksgiving to the electorate.
This is the first time that the AICC chief is visiting his constituency after he was voted to the Lok Sabha with a majority of about 4.31 lakh votes.
Gandhi, who also contested from his pocket borough of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, had lost to Union Minister Smrithi Irani.
A large number of people could be seen patiently waiting for hours for Gandhi on either side of the water-logged roads and on the terrace and balconies of nearby buildings to welcome their new MP.
As the vehicle carrying the Congress President inched its way through the crowded road, frenzied party workers literally danced waving tri-colour flags and posters with the pictures of their party chief, chanting “we are with you.”
Beating drums, they also greeted him shouting “Rahul, Rahul.”
The green flags of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a coalition partner of the opposition Congress-led UDF, could also be seen fluttering in the crowd.
The roadshow put the security personnel in a tizzy as Kalikavu is considered to be a naxal-infested area.
A heavy security blanket by the SPG, anti-naxal squad and the Kerala police was in place as part of the VVIP visit.
Gandhi, accompanied by State Congress leaders Mullappally Ramachandran, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, MLA A P Anil Kumar, among others, was seen waving at the crowd from an vehicle, the roof of which was kept open.
“I will fight for the people of Wayanad. I will take up the issues of Wayanad inside and outside Parliament.I will work for the constituency, work with you, listen to you.
I will speak for the people of Wayanad.Thank you for all the love and affection shown towards me,” Gandhi told the crowd that surrounded the vehicle.
He said even though he is a Congress man, he will work beyond politics, and for people from all walks of life.
Gandhi said since he is an MP of Kerala, he will raise issues not only of Wayanad but also of the people of the entire state in and outside Parliament.
After two more receptions at Malappuram district, he will travel to Kalpetta in Wayanad district through road for an overnight stay.
The Congress president arrived at Kozhikode airport in the afternoon and is scheduled to participate in at least 15 public receptions across the constituency, spread over in the districts of Wayanad, Malappuram and Kozhikode, in the next two days.
Thousands of party workers and leaders were at the airport to receive Gandhi, who is attending the first public function after the party’s drubbing in the general elections.
The Congress chief had a meeting with senior UDF leaders, including Ramesh Chennithala and P K Kunhalikutty.
A senior Congress leader from the constituency told PTI that Gandhi’s visit will be a morale booster for the party workers to fight the Assembly bypolls.
“He will also take part in road shows at Nilambur and Eranad,” senior Congress leader and Wandoor MLA A P Anil Kumar said.
Gandhi will be accorded receptions at Kalpetta, Kambalkadu, Panamaram, Mananthavadi, Pulpally and Sultan Batheri and will also attend a roadshow in Kozhikode Assembly constituency on June 9, before leaving for Delhi.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi tweeted, “I will be in Wayanad, Kerala, starting this afternoon and till Sunday to meet citizens and Congress party workers. It’s a packed schedule with over 15 public receptions planned over the next three days.
Source: Press Trust of India