Election 2019: How Wayanad, Known For Coffee, Became One Of India's Most-Watched Seats

Election 2019: Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from Wayanad, where legendary king Pazhassi Raja fought a guerilla war against British colonialists, has turned it into one of the most-watched constituencies in the country.

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Election 2019: How Wayanad, Known For Coffee, Became One Of India's Most-Watched Seats

Election 2019: Wayanad shares its borders with the Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka's Mysuru region.


Wayanad: 

In the third and biggest round of voting for the Lok Sabha election, the seat in the spotlight was Wayanad in Kerala, from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting. The Congress president is contesting from a second seat, apart from his traditional Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, for the first time.

Wayanad has the most number of candidates in Kerala - 20. The top candidates are Rahul Gandhi, the CPI's PP Suneer and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Thushar Vellappally.

There are also two namesakes, almost, of Rahul Gandhi - Rahul Gandhi KE and Raghul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from the hilly Kerala town, where legendary king Pazhassi Raja fought a guerilla war against British colonialists, has turned it into one of the most-watched constituencies in the country.

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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad, his second seat, apart from his traditional Amethi constituency.

The Congress chief is widely expected to win easily in this seat, which has voted the party since 2009. In this safe seat for the Congress, only the margin of victory will be important, say political analysts.

Senior Congress leader MI Shanavas, who died last year, had been winning the seat ever since the constituency was carved out.

In 2009, the Congress candidate had defeated CPI's M Rahmatullah by over 1.5 lakh votes. Mr Shanavas won again in 2014 by a slimmer margin of 20,000 votes against CPI's Sathyan Mokeri.

The Wayanad seat, with more than 13 lakh voters, shares its borders with the Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu and the Mysuru region of Karnataka. It is predominantly rural and of its seven assembly segments, three are in Wayanad district, three in Malappuram and one in Kozhikode district.

Two assembly segments in the constituency -- Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady -- are reserved for tribals who constitute around 18 per cent of the Wayanad's population. Vandoor in Malappuram district is reserved for the Scheduled Caste.

There are more women than male voters in the seat.

In this region, a large section of the population is small and marginal farmers who grow mostly hill produce and coffee. The hill constituency is also known for its rich biodiversity and wild animals.

The ruling BJP has accused Rahul Gandhi of running away from Amethi because he is not sure of winning from the constituency against Union Minister Smriti Irani.

Rahul Gandhi, while campaigning in Wayanad on April 17, told the crowds that he was seeking "a lifelong relationship" with the people of Wayanad. Mr Gandhi has a personal connection with Wayanad as it was here that his father, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed.

"I just don''t want to have a relationship of just few months. I want a lifelong relationship with you. I want the sisters of Wayanad to say that I am like their brother, the fathers and mothers to say that I am their son," Mr Gandhi had said.

Wayanad has a significant Muslim and Christian population.

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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Thushar Vellapally of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena is the NDA candidate in Wayanad.

NDA candidate Thushar Vellapally belongs to the Ezhava community. Thushar is son of Vellapally Natesan, the powerful general secretary of the community outfit SNDP Yogam.

NDA leaders claim that the real fight in Wayanad is between Gandhi and Mr Vellapappy.



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