The streets of Kalpetta are filled with crowds wearing white, walking in unison towards the SKMJ Higher Secondary School in the centre of the tiny town. In a few hours, the Congress scion, Rahul Gandhi, will land on this very school to file his nomination for the 2019 elections as he stands from Wayanad - his second seat.
A usually silent Kalpetta, on Wednesday, transformed overnight, with supporters filling up the streets on Thursday morning to show their support for the Congress leaders. Motorists were spotted wearing white T-shirts with Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi’s faces printed on them.
Rallies by the IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) waved their trademark green flags and sang Rahul’s praises. “Rahul’s impact will be tremendous. The Congress will win twenty out of twenty seats in Kerala," Ansari, a Muslim League worker, told TNM. Several supporters even came from the nearby districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram to campaign for the Congress in Kalpetta.
Closer to the school, where Rahul and Priyanka are expected to land as they fly in on their helicopter from Kozhikode, the mood was palpably excited. Hundreds had squeezed into the narrow road as flags, including the Muslim League’s moon and star and the tri- coloured palm of the INC, soared high in the air.
Among the slogans that rang shrill in the air were demands for secularism and democracy.
“We want secularism, we want democracy. We want INC, we want Rahul Gandhi,” the supporters chanted relentlessly.
The Congress President decided to contest from the southern constituency of Wayanad, as his second seat, after much deliberation. On Thursday, the last day of filing to the nomination, Rahul and his sister Priyanka Gandhi are expected to arrive in Kalpetta to file the former’s nomination. Following this, a roadshow, too, will be held in Kalpetta as part of the Congress campaign.
Security, too, has been beefed up in the town with arterial roads blocked in various places ahead of the Gandhis’ arrival.