Kozhikode: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will file nomination from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala by 11.30 AM on Thursday. He is likely to be accompanied by sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Reportedly, the brother-sister duo arrived in the city on Wednesday night to a tumultuous welcome by hundreds of party workers.

The Congress chief was received by Chennithala, Oommen Chandy, Mullappally Ramachandran, IUML leaders PK Kunhalikutty and ET Muhammed basheer and others. Soon after, he left for the guest house through a secure route. In all likelihood, he will meet senior Congress leaders on Wednesday night.

According to senior party leader Ramesh Chennithala, the two leaders will leave for Wayanad Thursday morning. “The Congress chief will embark on a massive road show at around 9.30 AM before filing the nomination papers,” he added. Earlier, sources said the Congress chief would board a helicopter to Wayanad, about 90 km from here, to file his nomination.

Senior Congress leader and AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala, Mukul Wasnik claimed the announcement of Gandhi’s candidature in Wayanad has enthused the people of the constituency and made a major difference in other states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “It will get reflected in the voting,” he said.

Meanwhile, a heavy security has been put in place in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts in view of the high-profile visits.

The Congress announced on Sunday that Gandhi would contest from Wayanad constituency, besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi.

“Amethi is my karmabhoomi, the place where one is destined to work and shall always remain so,” Gandhi had said. He went on to add, “I am deeply grateful for the love, affection and the sentiments expressed by our party workers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala who have asked me to contest a second seat from their states.”

Gandhi has claimed that the people in South India “feel hostility” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he decided to contest from Wayanad to send out the message that he stands with them.

The 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala will go to polls on April 23. The seven-phase general elections will begin on April 11 and conclude on May 19. The counting of votes will be conducted on May 23.