Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 3: In the backdrop of repeated instances of Maoist presence, security has been tightened in Wayanad where Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting the April 23 Lok Sabha election.
Rahul Gandhi will file his nominations papers from Wayanad on Thursday after a roadshow along with his sister Priyanka Vadra, who is also the AICC general secretary incharge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, sources said. Due to health reasons, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will not be able to come to Wayanad to accompany Mr Gandhi during the filing of nomination papers.
Special Protection Group (SPG) camping in the constituency began search operations in sensitive areas following the arrival of Mr Gandhi, who enjoys the highest security cover in the country. Mr Gandhi is expected to reach Kozhikode on Wednesday evening after attending election programmes in the North-Eastern state.
Senior Congress leader AK Antony, AICC general secretaries Oommen Chandy, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik, IUML leader Kunhalikutty, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran will accompany Mr Rahul who will participate in a series of party meetings during his visit to Kozhikode and Wayanad.
Out of the 10 companies of Central Paramilitary forces allotted to Kerala, one company of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel had already been deployed in Wayanad which recently witnessed an encounter with Maoists in Vythiri. Meanwhile, Kerala Police has demanded 149 companies of paramilitary forces for the Lok Sabha election in the State.
Out of the 30 Maoists sighting reported from Wayanad, Kannur, Malappuram, Kozhikode rural and Palakkad during December-February period, eight were reported from Wayanad alone, sources added. UNI