Congress leader and former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday distributed keys of a newly built house to two sisters who lost all their relatives in Kavalapara landslide last year.
K Kavya and Karthika were saved from nature’s fury last year as they were staying in a hostel and pursuing their studies. Gandhi had met the girls last year and promised them a new home. The girls had lost all their property and relatives in the landslide last year, Gandhi’s promise to them was finally fulfilled a year later.
At least 59 people were killed when a portion of a mountain drifted in Kavalapara after heavy rainfall last year. Similarly, in Puthuamala in Wayanad, 17 people perished in another landslide during the same period.
On Monday, Gandhi began his three-day visit to his constituency in Wayanad in north Kerala. After arriving at Kozhikode international airport by a special flight, he participated in a weekly Covid-19 review meeting in Malappuram Collectorate.
Gandhi is visiting his constituency after nine months – his last visit was in January. Soon after the natural disaster that crippled the hilly district, he visited the accident spots.
“He will interact with selected leaders. All restrictions will be in place. The main focus of his visit is to review the pandemic situation in the constituency,” said Wayanad district Congress president IC Balakrishnan.
The District Congress Committee (DCC) said no public function was scheduled during the day due to restrictions. On Tuesday, Gandhi will attend a Covid-19 review meeting at Wayanad Collectorate and meet party leaders. He will also visit Mananthawady government hospital on Wednesday before leaving from Kannur airport, the DCC said.
Last week, there was a controversy after Wayanad district collector Dr Adeela Abdulla denied permission to inaugurate a new block of a state-run school built with his MP fund. The online function was cancelled by the district administration last minute, stating that the state government was not informed about it and that protocols were not met. The Congress had criticised the decision saying it was politically-motivated.
His presence in the last Lok Saha election had helped the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) sweep the state winning 19 out of 20 seats. It also helped curb factionalism in the state party unit. Kerala assembly elections are due in six months and going by the tradition of the state to show incumbent doors, the UDF is likely to storm back to power.
Though the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) and the Congress are in good terms in national politics, in Kerala they are sworn enemies. During the last Lok Sabha election, Gandhi did not attack the CPI(M) in the state and used his firepower to attack the BJP, a distant third-runner in the state.