KPCC formally asks Rahul to fight polls from state

Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday formally invited Congress President Rahul Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the state.

In his letter to the party chief, Gundu Rao noted that the state has always stood by the Congress in “troubled times” and it had in the past returned his mother Sonia Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi to the Lok Sabha.

The letter was sent three days after Gundu Rao made a similar request on the social media and posted it on Twitter.

He said if Gandhi accepted the offer, it “will give very good message across south India.”

There has been a growing demand from Congress leaders in the south that Gandhi should contest the Lok Sabha elections from a seat there, as well.

The party has already announced that Gandhi will contest from his traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is likely to again field Union Minister Smriti Irani against him.

Gandhi had won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi by a margin of 1.07 lakh votes, while he had won the seat by a substantially higher margin of over 3.70 lakh votes in the 2009 general elections.

The letter to Gandhi said that the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) “takes pride to invite you to kindly contest from Karnataka in the coming Lok Sabha election.”

“Our state has stood by the Congress party whenever we were in troubled times. The present scenario in India is that our party will emerge stronger in the ensuing elections,” it said.

The letter said that Gandhi’s 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. The state had the honour of sending former Prime Minister Indira Gandhiji and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhiji to the Lok Sabha in the past,” it said.

In his tweet earlier, Rao had urged Gandhi to consider contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka.

Other party leaders including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah have made similar requests to Gandhi.

Incidentally Dinesh Gundu Rao’s father R. Gundu Rao along with party leader Devaraj Urs had played a crucial role in Indira Gandhi’s victory in a Lok Sabha bypoll in Chikmagalur in 1978, which marked her political comeback.

Indira Gandhi had defeated Janata Party candidate Veerendra Patil in the bye-election held after the defeat of her party in the 1977 general elections.

Sonia Gandhi, one year into politics, had won from Bellary in Karnataka against BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in 1999.