The announcement of Congress president Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from a second seat - Wayanad - has given the prospects of several parties a severe drubbing.
That Rahul was sure to be defeated in Amethi made him ‘run away’ from there to Wayanad to seek a ‘safer’ destination has been the refrain across Kerala. It sounds like a natural comment from the BJP when surprisingly it was the panicked CPM that lashed out against the BJP. Its mouthpiece 'Deshabhimani' even used the term 'Pappu’ against Rahul which had a BJP taste.
The CPM comments very much reflect the tweet of Smriti Irani, the BJP candidate pitted against Rahul in Amethi.
She says: “Amethi rejected Rahul Gandhi...a drama is now being created that people from various states have been calling [Rahul Gandhi] to contest because the people have rejected him. #BhaagRahulBhaag. Vacate the throne Rahul ji because the people are coming]" she tweeted.
Ironically, the babble of CPM, which claims that BJP is number one enemy, is similar to that of its enemy.
For the Left's 'sectarian’ strategy, Congress is the main enemy in Kerala but not so outside which is also vice versa.
There are very options for the CPM. The Congress is clear in its strategy - strengthening its base across the South. And Wayanad is one seat where with the support of the UDF ally, Muslim League, Rahul can taste success easily. The groupism in the party will certainly be buried and there will be collective effort by the party and its allies across the State which is not to the liking of the CPM and the LDF it leads.
Rahul will not have to spend much time for campaign in Wayanad and take up the activities across the country. Senior national leaders will fly down to Kerala which will reflect in the campaign in other constituencies.
Congress is on a better footing in Kerala and Karnataka. The alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu should give it further strength there.
But Rahul has antagonised the CPM whose plans of getting a few more seats than last time is of prime importance as it has been nearly wiped out from its erstwhile bastions like Bengal and Tripura.
The Left cannot afford to see the BJP win at least a single seat for the first time in Kerala. A BJP win would be seen as a failure of the CPM-led Pinarayi Government which has seen Hindu consolidation over the way it handled the Sabarimala issue on young women entry.
Moreover, among those who advised Rahul against contesting from Wayanad was Sharad Pawar of the NCP which, despite being so concerned, has not taken CPM as its ally in Maharashtra.
CPM leaders have been going around claiming that Rahul eyed Wayanad because of the strength of the Muslim League there. The paradox is that, Muslim League is part of the DMK front very much like the CPM and the CPI. The front chief and DMK boss MK Stalin announced publicly that Rahul was the front's Prime Minister candidate.
The LDF hopes of retaining at least the eight it won in 2014 have been dashed by Rahul's entry.
The BJP which hoped to cash in on the dissent among LDF supporters over Sabarimala may see the votes go in favour of UDF. On the national front, Rahul's Wayanad entry will make things tougher for it in the South.