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Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli seat

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli seat.

Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli after Congress leader Sonia Gandhi vacates the seat.

Ending days of suspense, Congress announced on Friday that Rahul Gandhi would contest the Raebareli Lok Sabha seat and Congress loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi, the party’s bastions in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress announced early on Friday, the last date for filing nomination papers for both seats. Both constituencies will vote on May 20.

Rahul, who lost the election from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has been given the responsibility to contest Raebareli – his mother’s seat. Sonia won the seat in 2019 with 1.67 lakh votes, defeating BJPs Dinesh Singh.

Congress files Rahul Gandhi from Raebarili, keeping the prominent seat in their hands after Soni Gandhi vacates the seat after being elected to the Rajya Sabha.

This time, too, the BJP has fielded Singh, an MLC and minister in the UP government. The three-term MLC gave Sonia an intense fight in 2019, reducing her victory margin from 3.52 lakh votes in 2014 to 1.67 lakh. Sonia, who won Raebareli in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019, is not contesting this time and has moved to the Rajya Sabha.

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Sharma, a staunch supporter of the Gandhis in Amethi and Raebareli, has been actively involved in various party roles, including the Youth Congress, over four decades. Described as one of the most accessible and friendly leaders within the Congress ranks in Amethi and Raebareli, Sharma was appointed by Sonia Gandhi herself as the party’s representative in these constituencies.

In addition to his candidature in Raebareli, Rahul Gandhi, who is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, will face off against Dinesh Singh. Singh, nominated to the Upper House in Uttar Pradesh by the BJP, assumed ministerial responsibilities for horticulture, agricultural marketing, foreign trade in agriculture, and agriculture exports after the Yogi Adityanath-led government returned to power in 2022. He continues to hold these portfolios.

In Amethi, the BJP has nominated Union Minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul in 2019 by 55,120 votes. Despite losing the 2014 elections by over 1 lakh votes, Irani’s narrower victory margin against Rahul in 2019 raised hopes within the BJP.

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