When Congress leader commenced an unprecedented national march 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' last year, Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari was the origin of this historical rally that ended in Jammu & Kashmir. As the political parties are counting months for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and as the Congress is aiming to unseat Narendra Modi from power, Kanyakumari may become the origin of Rahul Gandhi's fresh political start.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi played out a tough task of not disappointing his Hindi belt - by contesting from Amethi and looking south to widen his political base as he also has contested from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala. Eventually, he lost to BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi but triumphed from Wayanad. Those were his days as the Congress party's president. Five years later, Rahul Gandhi may look deep south with a new political ground, that's benign for Congress.
In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi would possibly contest from the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu. And for this significant change, the party has two reasons. According to The Print, several Congress leaders have affirmed that the option of contesting from Kanyakumari has been explored but Rahul Gandhi is yet to take a final call. There won't be larger shift of political landscape for Rahul Gandhi but one crucial factor is that if he contests from Kanyakumari, he would be supported by the Left, whom he opposed in Kerala in last elections.
The leaders say that there are two reasons why the southern tip of the country has been explored. One is if Rahul Gandhi contest from Kanyakumari, he will directly cross sword with BJP as the seat has been the ground of national parties, particularly for the Congress. The favourable ground and the alliance with the state ruling DMK would bolster Rahul's run to defeat the BJP. Also, the factor that a national leader is contesting from Tamil Nadu for the first time in decades would be an added advantage.
The second reason is to open the prospects to mitigate Rahul Gandhi's electoral clash with the Left in Kerala as he observes close ties with the national leaders of the Communist parties. Though the chances of Rahul's run in Kanyakumari are bright, it is less likely that he would contest from Kanyakumari alone as he would also be exploring to take back his stronghold Amethi in Uttar Pradesh as his Bharat Jodo Yatra had grossed a thumping response in the northern states.
The Print quoted a Congress leader saying that even in 2019, Kanyakumari was shortlisted for Rahul Gandhi along with Bengaluru Rural. However, the last-minute change led him to contest from Wayanad. If he decides to contest from Kanyakumari which shares its borders with Kerala, it's plausible that it will bring the Congress and Left cadres together from both the states to put weight behind him. Furthermore, the Congress party is planning to award the Wayanad seat to the party's general secretary KC Venugopal.
Currently, Kanyakumari is represented by Congress MP Vijay Vasanth, who is the son of late Vasanthakumar, the founder of Vasanth & Co. Vasanthakumar was also with the Congress and he was the MP of Kanyakumari before getting replaced by his son in 2021. When Rahul Gandhi chose to contest against the Left in Wayanad in 2019, he faced criticism that he was fearing to contest against the BJP. But, this time, he is coming up to ensure that he will directly contest against the BJP and for Congress, this story would remain firm though the stage changes.