Annie Raja welcomes Priyanka’s candidature, slams KC Venugopal for ‘family’ comment

Annie Raja was however non-committal about contesting a by-election stating that it is the party’s and the Left front’s call.
Annie Raja
Annie Raja
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Welcoming the Congress’ decision to field Priyanka Gandhi from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Annie Raja, a leader of the Communist Party of India, who lost to Rahul Gandhi in the constituency, appreciated the party’s decision to field a woman candidate. She was however non-committal about contesting a by-election stating that it is the party’s and the Left front’s call.

Rahul Gandhi has decided to retain Rae Bareli, the other constituency he won and vacate Wayanad for his sister Priyanka, who would make her electoral debut. Rahul, who was representing the constituency, won the seat again with a majority of more than 3.6 lakh votes. 

There was speculation that he’d choose Raebareli over Wayanad, but what came as a surprise was the Congress’ announcement fielding Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul’s sister and another prominent leader of the party, to contest the seat he was vacating.

Annie said that electing women to the parliament is important as their strength in the lower house has come down from 14 to 13%. Not a single woman had won from any constituency in Kerala this time. 

Annie Raja
Annie Raja, LDF candidate in Wayanad, is much more than a textbook politician

The Left parties and the Congress are both part of the INDIA bloc that was formed to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of the country, which had been in power for a decade. Though the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition led by the BJP, came back to power, the BJP itself was reduced to 241 seats.

“The important factor here is that, even though the NDA’s vote share has come down, we have not weakened the communal fascism in the country that we have been fighting against. The INDIA bloc should be strengthened in these circumstances,” Annie said, though it was not clear if the Left would contest the by-election

The BJP reacted to the news of Priyanka’s candidature by calling the Congress a family-run business, with Rahul and Priyanka and their mother, veteran leader Sonia Gandhi, “all going to be in the parliament”. KC Venugopal, Congress’ general secretary and Alappuzha MP reportedly said that Annie Raja too had similar family ties, since she was the wife of CPI leader D Raja. 

“Instead of replying to the BJP, he chose to criticise me. I have been active in politics for 45 years, in my own right, and not as someone’s partner. I was a leader of my party, the CPI, before we decided to become a family. The Congress leader can’t recognise a woman’s agency here,” Annie said in response to Venugopal’s comment. 

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