There was a flurry of activity in the usually calm Kalpetta in Wayanad as Congress President Rahul Gandhi reached the Kerala district to file his nomination for the Lok Sabha elections. From the time his helicopter landed at the SKMJ Higher Secondary School ground in the town, journalists were running behind the leader, not wanting to miss a single moment of his visit.
A separate vehicle had been allotted for media persons to follow the Congress leader to the collectorate where he was to submit his nomination. The scramble continued to Kalpetta town where he embarked upon a roadshow.
After concluding the roadshow, Rahul Gandhi was on his way back to the school ground to fly back when a barricade collapsed on the media convoy vehicle, injuring two journalists.
When Rahul realised that some from the media were injured, he came up to help. Visuals showed him holding the stretcher carrying the two journalists to the ambulance deployed on the ground as part of the Congress leaderâ€™s visit. The leaderâ€™s sister and National General Secretary of the Congress, Priyanka Gandhi, too was seen next to him when the two journalists were taken to the ambulance.
The journalists were identified as Rickson Oommen, working for the India Ahead News Channel, and Madhu Naik, a reporter with the ANI news agency in Bengaluru. Rickson was shifted to a private hospital while Madhu was admitted to the government Taluk hospital in Kalpetta. Both of them were discharged later.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi filed the nomination for his second seat at Wayanad, accompanied by Priyanka Gandhi and other prominent state party leaders. Arriving by helicopter from Kozhikode, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi (also the party in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh) drove to the Wayanad Collectorâ€™s office some 500 meters away to file the formerâ€™s nomination, all the while cheered by people on both sides of the road. Amid tight security, only a few people were allowed to go in to the Collectorâ€™s office with them.
This was followed by the roadshow, where the Gandhis boarded an open jeep, accompanied by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, Congress Working Committee member Oommen Chandy and Congress leader KC Venugopal. As Rahul and Priyanka waved to the crowd from their vehicle, police personnel found it tough to handle the surging crowds.
The Congress on Sunday had announced that Rahul Gandhi will be contesting from Wayanad, putting an end to week-long speculations and political debates surrounding it. The Congress had earlier chosen T Siddique to contest from the seat.
In addition to Wayanad, one of the economically backward regions of Kerala, Rahul is also contesting from the traditional Congress stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.