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Rahul to contest LS polls from Rae Bareli, KL Sharma from Amethi

The two will file their nomination papers on Friday, the last date for the filing of nominations for the seats that will go to polls on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections.

rahulNEW DELHI: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi will contest from family bastion Raebareli and senior leader KL Sharma will be fielded from Amethi. The announcement came just a few hours before filing the nominations for the prestigious seats. The deadline for filing nominations ends at 3 pm today.  Both seats are considered traditional pocket boroughs of the Gandhi-Nehru family as its members have represented them for several decades. Besides Rae Bareli, Rahul Gandhi has contested Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Wayanad as well. Gandhi is the sitting MP from Wayanad.

The party has been keeping the cards close to its chest on the candidature of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi from the prestigious seats.

It was widely speculated that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may make her electoral debut from Raebareli in this election. However, sources said that Priyanka will focus on campaigning. It was highly speculated that Rahul Gandhi would contest from Amethi and Priyanka Gandhi from Raebareli, both siblings have been dragging their feet on the decision to contest.

After serving four consecutive terms as the Rae Bareli MP, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has vacated the seat to become a Rajya Sabha MP. The Rae Bareli constituency is prestigious for Congress as it was held by former PM Indira Gandhi three times and Indira’s husband Feroze Gandhi in 1952 and 1957.. It was represented by Sonia Gandhi from 2004 to 2024.  The only instances where a member of the Gandhi family has not contested the seat are in 1962 and 1999.

On Thursday, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge conveyed to the Gandhis that not contesting from Uttar Pradesh will not augur well for the party’s prospects in the Hindi heartland, said sources. Rahul Gandhi represented Amethi for three straight terms from 2004 to 2019 before he was defeated by Union Minister Smriti Irani by over 50, 000 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.  KL Sharma, considered a close aide of the Gandhi family is pitted against Irani. There has been a clamor from party workers to field  Rahul Gandhi from Amethi,  Sources said the results of the internal surveys conducted by the party showed results in favour of Rahul Gandhi. Smriti Irani, seeking a second term from Amethi, has challenged Rahul Gandhi to contest the seat.  According to sources, the Gandhis were not keen on Priyanka’s electoral debut from Raebareli as they did not want all three members of the Gandhi family in Parliament. The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been constantly attacking the Congress over its dynasty politics.

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