Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday filed his nomination from Kerala's Wayanad constituency in presence of his sister and AICC general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh east Priyanka Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi, who has been representing Uttar Pradesh's Amethi since 2004, is fighting the upcoming general elections from two seats. Gandhi said that he decided to contest from the south Indian state as people of the country's southern states feel "hostility from (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi" and he wanted to send a message that he and his party was standing with them.
"I have come to Kerala to send a message that India is one, be it North, South, East or West. My aim is to send a message, there is a feeling in South India that the way Centre, Modi ji and RSS are working its like an assault on culture and languages in South," the Congress chief told reporters in Wayanad.
After filing the nomination, the Congress chief kicked off his campaigning with a mega road show along with Priyanka Gandhi and the state leaders, including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala.
A massive crowd gathered on both sides of the road as the Congress chief came out of the Wayanad district headquarters in an open jeep. The Congress chief waved at the crowd as they chanted slogans in favour of him.
Earlier on Wednesday night, the Congress chief arrived at Kozhikode to a ceremonial welcome by hundreds of supporters and party workers. His sister Priyanka arrived shortly before the Congress president and left for the guest house through a secure route from the airport. Top Kerala Congress leaders, including former chief minister Oommen Chandy, Mullappally Ramachandran, Chennithala, IUML leaders P K Kunhalikutty and ET Muhammed Basheer, had also reached the Kozhikode Airport to receive the Congress chief.
The Congress party claims that Rahul Gandhi's nomination from Wayanad will make a major difference in the upcoming elections not just in Kerala but in two other southern states - Tamil Nadu and Karnataka - as well.