Wayanad, which could soon become a VVIP constituency if Congress President Rahul Gandhi decides to contest the Lok Sabha election from there, has been a Congress safe seat.
In the last two Lok Sabha elections, in 2014 and 2009, M.I. Shanavas of the Congress won the seat, defeating the Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala’s predominantly bipolar electoral politics.
In that sense, picking Wayanad as Gandhi’s constituency is a careful choice as is the calibrated demand to have him contest from a southern Indian seat apart from Amethi where he faces Union Minister Smriti Irani.
The Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency is newly formed and was created following fresh delimitation of seats in 2008.
The seat has been vacant since last year following the MP’s death.
For the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the total number of electors in Wayanad was 11,02,097. Shanavas got 410,703 votes, which was 49.86 per cent of votes polled. He defeated Advocate M. Rahmatullam of the CPI, who got 257,264 (31.23 per cent).
In that election, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s C. Vasudevan Master got 31,687 votes which was a mere 3.85 per cent of the votes polled. He came a distant fourth in the contest.
K. Muraleedharan of the Nationalist Congress Party did better than the BJP candidate, coming third with 99,663 votes (12.10 per cent).
Compared to 2009, Shanavas had a tough time winning the seat in 2014, scraping through with a little more than 20,000 votes over the second placed CPI candidate to become one of the 44 Congress MPs in the last Lok Sabha.
In 2014, Shanavas got 377,035 votes or 30.18 per cent of the votes polled compared to CPI’s Sathyan Mokeri who got 356,165 votes or 28.51 per cent. However, that election saw the BJP placed third with its candidate P.R. Rasmilnath bagging 80,752 votes (6.46 per cent).
The others in the race, all bit players, fared as follows. Independent candidate P.V. Anvar got 37,123 votes (2.97 per cent), SDPI’s Jaleel Neelambra got 14,327 votes (1.146 per cent) and WPOI’s Ramla Mampad got 12,645 votes (1.01 per cent). NOTA votes figured seventh on the tally — 10,735 or 0.85 per cent.
PPA Sageer of AAP got 10,684 votes, which was 0.85 of votes polled, Sathyan Thazemangad, an independent candidate, got 5,476 votes or 0.43 of votes polled.
The Wayanad Lok Sabha seat comprises seven Assembly segments. Three of these are from Wayanad district — Mananthavady (ST), Sulthanbathery (ST) and Kalpetta. One is from Kozikode district (Thiruvambadi) and three are from Malappuram district — Ernad, Nilambur and Wandoor (SC).