Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad constituency in Kerala, arrived here on Friday afternoon as thousands gathered to welcome him, braving heavy rain.
Gandhi, who contested from two parliamentary seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections -- Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad -- won from Wayanad with a record margin of 431,770 votes. He, however, lost from Amethi to the BJP's Smriti Irani.
The Congress President arrived at the Kozhikode airport at around 2.45 p.m. and was received by state Congress President Mullapally Ramachandran, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and top leaders from the Indian Union Muslim League.
After receiving Gandhi, Senior IUML parliamentarian P.K. Kunhalikutty told the media that his party will officially request Gandhi to take over as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
Starting Friday, Gandhi will be conducting road shows in each of the seven Assembly constituencies in Wayanad, over a period of three days.
His first road show was at Kallikavu, which forms part of the Wandoor Assembly segment in Malappuram district. Those who had gathered to see their new parliamentarian were raising slogans in his support.
Arriving in a convoy of 100 vehicles, Gandhi, accompanied by senior party leaders, was in an open vehicle and despite heavy rain, thousands of people waited cheerfully to see him.
"I will ensure that the issues of Wayanad would be heard in the Parliament. Not just Wayanad, I assure the people of Kerala that I will work for the entire state and it will be my priority," the Congress President said.
Gandhi's next stop was Nilambur which was a similar sight as thousands of people, including women and children, waited impatiently to see him.
Enroute to Nilambur, he saw a roadside tea stall and asked for his vehicle to be stopped. Much to the surprise of the leaders accompanying him, Gandhi went into the shop, had some tea and snacks and interacted with the people around him.
His third stop was Edavana, where the excitement of the people who had gathered to see him was evident as an elderly man said the innocence of Gandhi is what is liked by all.
"He is not an ordinary politician and his loss at Amethi is the doing of Narendra Modi where voting machines were tampered with. Gandhi will work for us and he will ensure that the oppressed and the downtrodden here get a new lease of life," said the elderly man.
A youth shouted that Modi is not their Prime Minister but Rahul Gandhi is.
After one more stop, Gandhi will travel to Wayanad where he will spend the night and on Saturday morning he will resume his road shows. On Sunday, he will fly back from Kozhikode to Delhi.
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