Congress President Rahul Gandhi files his nomination from the Wayanad parliamentary constituency. He will also be contesting from the Gandhi family bastion, Amethi.
Kerala’s Wayanad has shot to limelight with Rahul Gandhi choosing the tribal-dominated constituency, but forest dwellers remain oblivious to heated political discussions over the Congress chief’s move to go down south, saying food, shelter and fighting elephant attacks are issues of priority for them.
Tribals constitute around 18 per cent population of the Wayanad district. The Lok Sabha seat has two Assembly segments — Sultan Bathery and Mananthavadi — which are reserved for them.
“We don’t have shelters or good habitation. There are no roads, no proper drinking water. We do not have much hope in them (politicians),” said a tribal man living in the forests of Wayanad.
According to a tribal woman, the main issue is fighting elephant attacks. “We face problems due to attacks by elephants at our homes inside the forest. We won’t cast vote this time. There is no use of participating in elections,” she said. The area is home to tribals for centuries and the ethnic groups they belong to are Paniyas, Kurumas, Adiyars, Kurichyas and Kattunaikkans.