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POST TIME: 24 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
India elections
Rahul and Amit: Heavyweights trying their luck
The Economic Times, Delhi

Rahul and Amit: Heavyweights 
trying their luck

Third phase of the Lok Sabha election in India was taken place yesterday. It is the biggest of the five phases, will see voting in 116 parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Bengal and Chhattisgarh. The most interesting aspect of the third phase of elections is the large number of big leaders trying their luck, which includes Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah.

Rahul Gandhi: Voters in Wayanad was to choose yesterday between Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI's PP Suneer fielded by Kerala's the ruling Left Democratic front and the NDA's Tushar Vellapally, the head of the Bharat Dharam Jan Sena (BDJS), a BJP ally in the state.

This was the second seat from where Rahul was contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Rahul said his decision to contest the Lok Sabha elections from a second seat in the south was to send out a message that India is one.

However, his opponents see it as a retreat from his family pocket borough of Amethi. They say Rahul found a safe seat in Wayanad due to a large number of minority votes in this constituency.

Rahul is also trying to please the majority Hindu community. His recent visit to an old temple in the constituency was seen as a gesture to the Hindu voters. Senior Congress leader MI Shanavas, who died last year, had been winning the seat ever since the constituency was carved out in 2009. He had trounced CPI's M Rahmatullah by

over 1.5 lakh votes in 2009 and defeated CPI leader Sathyan Mokeri by a margin of 20,000 votes in 2014. Political analysts say Wayanad, a bastion of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), is a safe seat for Gandhi. According to them, the one thing that matters is the winning margin. Amit Shah: This is BJP President Amit Shah’s electoral debut. He was contesting from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.