In a letter, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said that if Rahul contests from Karnataka, it will “not only boost the rank and file of our party in the entire state but also in South India.”

Karnataka Congress formally invites Rahul Gandhi to contest from state
news Politics Monday, March 18, 2019 - 11:20

The Congress in Karnataka on Monday formally invited All India Congress Committee President Rahul Gandhi to contest from Karnataka.

In a letter addressed to Rahul Gandhi, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “Your candidature from Karnataka will not only boost the rank and file of our party in the entire state but also in South India. The ruling NDA is losing its shine and our alliance in the south is on a strong wicket.”

Sources in the Congress say that the state leaders have been scouring for candidates to contest from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and Ballari. With no appropriate candidate to pick, the party handed it over to the JD(S).

“JD(S) does not want to contest from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru. They want to contest from another segment. If Rahul Gandhi decides to contest from this segment, it would help the alliance,” a source said.

Party insiders say that if Rahul Gandhi decides to contest from the state, it would help boost the party's morale and quell rebellion.

"Party workers are not happy about the alliance with JD(S). If Rahul Gandhi is contesting from the state, it would give them the incentive to work together and ensure that the alliance is strong," the source said.

Rahul will be in Kalburgi on Monday to campaign for senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

There have been calls for Rahul Gandhi to contest from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with leaders from both states tweeting to the Congress chief.

Sources in the Congress earlier told TNM that Rahul was being persuaded to contest from South India.

"It will have to be Karnataka but Rahul Gandhi is also being persuaded by Tamil Nadu Congress to contest from there as the anti-Modi wave is strong in the state,” a source earlier said.

This is not the first time a member of the Gandhi family will be turning to the south. In the 1977 Lok Sabha polls, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, facing massive anti-incumbency following the Emergency, contested from Chikkamagaluru to get elected to Parliament.

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