Lok Sabha polls top updates: Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers from Wayanad

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday filed his nomination papers from Kerala’s Wayanad, the constituency that elected him as its representative in the Lok Sabha in 2019. In Maharashtra, the Congress dropped Sanjay Nirupam from its list of star campaigners and said that action would be taken against him. In Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani became a voter of Amethi, fulfilling a promise she made to the people of her constituency.

Here’s a look at today’s top developments:

  • On Wednesday, Gandhi took out a roadshow in Wayanad along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, following which he filed his nomination papers. He said in a social media post afterwards: “Wayanad is my home, and the people of Wayanad are my family. From them, I have learned a great deal over the last five years and received an abundance of love and affection.” In the 2019 general elections, Gandhi won the Wayanad seat after securing 7,06,367 votes.
  • Gandhi’s rival in Wayanad, the Communist Party of India’s Annie Raja, also filed her nomination on Wednesday. “I as a Left Front candidate am contesting here to win,” she told ANI. “I am not bothered about what will be his [Gandhi’s] majority or his fate. We are here, we are reaching out to people. We are telling them, what is our politics.” On Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan criticised Gandhi for seeking re-election from Wayanad as both Congress and the Communist Party of India are constituents of the Opposition INDIA bloc.
  • The Congress on Wednesday removed the party’s former Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam as one of its star campaigners. This came days after Nirupam said that the party’s high command “does not care about local leaders” as the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), an ally of the Congress, announced Amol Kirtikar as the candidate from the Mumbai North West seat. Nirupam said in a social media post: “The Congress should not waste its energy and stationery on me. The party is anyway facing a severe financial crunch. It should use its energy and stationery to save the party. The one-week ultimatum I had given is over and I will announce my decision tomorrow.”
  • The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha has announced five names for the Lok Sabha polls. In Berhampur, the party fielded Bhrugu Buxipatra, hours after he left the Bharatiya Janata Party. Buxipatra was the BJP’s candidate for the seat in the 2019 general elections. The Biju Janata Dal has also fielded Parineeta Mishra, wife of Sushant Mishra who recently left the BJP, from the Bargarh seat.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu on Wednesday held a meeting with officials from all states and Union territories. The poll panel instructed the state officials to ensure that strict vigil is kept on interstate and international borders and prevent the inflow of illicit liquor, drugs cash and arms. Kumar also told officials that preemptive measures should be taken to prevent communal tensions.
  • Irani’s representative Vijay Gupta said that the MP has become a voter of Amethi, reported PTI. According to Gupta, Irani applied to become a voter after getting a house in the Medan Mawai village of Gauriganj. The BJP has declared Irani as its candidate from Amethi. She won the seat in 2019 after defeating Gandhi by a margin of 55,000 votes.

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