Monday, April 15, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Rahul Gandhi files nomination for India election

Despite previous defeats against Modi, Rahul remains a prominent figure in the opposition alliance

Update : 03 Apr 2024, 04:40 PM

Thousands of supporters thronged India’s most prominent opposition leader Rahul Gandhi during a campaign procession on Wednesday ahead of his formal nomination for national elections starting this month.

Gandhi is the son, grandson, and great-grandson of former prime ministers, but has already suffered two landslide defeats against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He is the leading figure in an opposition alliance fighting an uphill battle in this year’s polls against Modi, who remains broadly popular after a decade in power and is widely expected to comfortably retain office.

But Gandhi was given a rousing reception in Wayanad, a picturesque town in the southern state of Kerala, with a huge crowd gathering to cheer his arrival.

“I don’t think of you as my electorate but as my family,” he told the large gathering from atop a truck, flanked by his younger sister Priyanka and cadres from his Congress party.

The 53-year-old formally filed his nomination to recontest Wayanad with the local election office after the rally.

Gandhi was first elected to the constituency in 2019 but was briefly disqualified from parliament last year after his conviction for criminal libel in a case filed by a member of Modi’s party.

He was reinstated pending a Supreme Court appeal but his decision to recontest the seat has caused some friction within the opposition alliance.

His main challenger is firebrand leftist Annie Raja of the Communist Party of India, a fellow member of the bloc.

Her allies have criticized Gandhi for not choosing to fight in another seat against an established candidate from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The entire country should discuss the inappropriateness of this,” Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a member of Raja’s party, told reporters on Tuesday.

Nearly a billion Indians will vote to elect a new government in six-week-long parliamentary elections starting on April 19.

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