Rahul Gandhi to Contest Lok Sabha Polls from Rae Bareli as Priyanka Gandhi Opts Out

Rahul Gandhi will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, a seat previously held by his mother Sonia Gandhi. Kishori Lal Sharma, a longtime Gandhi family loyalist, will contest from Amethi, another Congress stronghold.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Rahul Gandhi to Contest Lok Sabha Polls from Rae Bareli as Priyanka Gandhi Opts Out

Rahul Gandhi to Contest Lok Sabha Polls from Rae Bareli as Priyanka Gandhi Opts Out

The Congress party has announced that Rahul Gandhi will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, a seat previously held by his mother Sonia Gandhi. This decision comes as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul's sister and a prominent Congress leader, has opted out of the electoral race. Meanwhile, longtime Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma has been fielded from Amethi, another Congress stronghold.

Why this matters: The outcome of theseelections will have significant implications for the Congress party's leadership and the Gandhi family's political influence in India. The results will also impact the overall political landscape of Uttar Pradesh, a crucial state in Indian politics.

Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from Rae Bareli marks a shift from his expected bid to win back Amethi, a family bastion that defected to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Union Minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi five years ago, has already filed her nomination papers and declared that the Congress delay in announcing their candidate was the result of cold feet. In an exclusive interview, Irani said, "The leadership is aware that this is a losing seat for them, because if they were so confident of their victory, they would have announced their candidate by now."

The announcement of candidates for Rae Bareli and Amethi was made on May 3, the last day for filing nominations for the two seats, which will go to polls on May 20 in the fifth phase of the seven-phase general election. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, current chief Mallikarjun Kharge, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be present in Rae Bareli during Rahul Gandhi's nomination filing.

Kishori Lal Sharma, who has been instrumental in managing the Amethi and Rae Bareli constituencies in the absence of the Gandhis, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to contest from Amethi. Congress worker Yogendra Yadav voiced confidence in Sharma's victory, stating,"There is no disappointment. We will definitely win from here (Amethi). KL Sharma is also a part of the (Gandhi) family now. He has worked for the Gandhi family in Amethi for 30 to 35 years."

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's decision not to contest from Rae Bareli, a seat she had nursed for over a decade on her mother's behalf, has raised concerns within the party. Many leaders suspect that this move could create a negative perception that may reflect on the outcome of the election across the country. The Uttar Pradesh leadership of the Congress had earlier requested the Gandhi family to contest both the seats.

The BJP has announced Dinesh Pratap Singh as its candidate from Rae Bareli, who lost to Sonia Gandhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The switch of seat for Rahul Gandhi could play into the BJP's hands, given Smriti Irani's previous victory in Amethi. The Congress party's strategy and candidate selection will be closely watched, especially in light of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's decision not to contest.

Lok Sabha elections entering their final phases, with polling on 353 seats still left, the Congress is contesting on 330 seats. The party's performance in these pivotal constituencies will be a litmus test for its leadership and the Gandhi family's political clout. The outcomes in Rae Bareli and Amethi, two of the most high-profile seats in the country, will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the Congress party and the political scenario of Uttar Pradesh.

Key Takeaways

  • Rahul Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha elections from Rae Bareli, UP.
  • Priyanka Gandhi Vadra opts out of electoral race, sparking concerns.
  • Kishori Lal Sharma to contest from Amethi, a Congress stronghold.
  • Outcome of these elections will impact Congress leadership and Gandhi family's influence.
  • Results will also shape the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh, a crucial state.