Congress to field defeated Kerala leader from Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad?

In Thrissur, Muraleedharan became the only Congress nominee to finish third in Kerala

Kerala Congress leader K Muraleedharan Kerala Congress leader K Muraleedharan with senior leader Ramesh Chennithala | Official Facebook

Unconfirmed reports claim that Rahul Gandhi will opt to keep Rae Bareli over Wayanad after the Congress leader registered thumping victories from both seats in the Lok Sabha polls 2024. 

Meanwhile, in another major development, the Congress in Kerala have hinted that they have already chosen the leader to be fielded from Wayanad for the bypolls. According to reports, senior leader K Muraleedharan, who unsuccessfully contested from the Thrissur seat in the Lok Sabha polls is likely to get a second shot at glory if Rahul opts for Rae Bareli over his sitting seat in the southern state.

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Despite Congress-led UDF flexing muscles in Kerala, Muraleedharan, son of former chief minister K Karunakaran, ended up among the two Congress nominees in the state to taste defeat. Muraleedharan finished third in Thrissur, which was the bastion of his late father, as BJP's Suresh Gopi registered a historic win.

Following the bitter defeat, Muraleedharan claimed that he was taking a break from politics and criticised his party colleagues for lack of support during the campaigning stage. He would have won if he was allowed to contest from sitting seat Vadakara, the Congress leader had said.

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While actor-politician Suresh Gopi, Kerala's first BJP Lok Sabha MP, polled 4,12,338 votes, runner-up VS Sunil Kumar of CPI got 3,37,652. Muraleedharan finished third polling 3,28,124. TN Prathapan of Congress had won from Thrissur in 2019 beating Rajaji Mathew Thomas of CPI by a margin of 93,633 votes. Prathapan, who didn't contest this time, polled 415,089 votes while third-placed Suresh Gopi managed only 2,93,822.

Ahead of the polls, Muraleedharan's sister Padmaja Venugopal had switched to the saffron camp and campaigned for Gopi. All these factors led to Muraleedharan's explosive remarks following the counting.

To give him a rerun to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad could be a effort by the KPCC to comfort the disappointed leader. "There is no obstacle for Muraleedharan to contest in Wayanad. The party should make the decision. He is qualified to compete anywhere," KPCC president K Sudhakaran told the media. However, the Kannur MP added that it would ultimately be Rahul Gandhi's call on whether to represent Wayanad once again or not.

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""Muraleedharan is suitable for any position. If necessary, the KPCC president role will also be offered to him. There is no disagreement about that,"  Sudhakaran reportedly added.

Shocked over the BJP's victory, a section of Youth Congress activists came out intensely criticising the district party leadership and sought their resignation for allegedly "opening doors for the Sangh Parivar forces" to the southern state. Posters appeared on the compound walls of the District Congress Committee office here, reportedly by the Youth Congress workers, on Wednesday, accusing former MP Prathapan and DCC president Jose Valloor for the drubbing.
    

The posters said that there would be no seat for Prathapan, even in a ward in the central Kerala constituency.

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