Sonia Gandhi, Rahul in Congress’ 1st list of 15, but not Priyanka – Times of India

By on March 7, 2019
NEW DELHI: Setting to rest speculation whether she will contest, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will seek re-election from her traditional family bastion of Rae Bareli while son and party president Rahul Gandhi will run from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress’s first list of 15 candidates, including 11 from UP, does not include Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Though she can be still nominated, her absence from the first list suggests that the odds are against her contesting. After being anointed in a formal political role as general secretary (east UP), she may be slated to play an organisational role for now. The party also announced four names for Gujarat amid indications that it is likely to field Hardik Patel from Jamnagar. It was also trying to hold on to young Khastriya leader Alpesh Thakore, who has lately been feeling uncomfortable.

Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, another family redoubt, is no surprise though BJP seems determined to make a fight of it with a slew of projects in the area and the near certainty of a rematch with textile minister Smriti Irani.

In Congress’s list, four candidates are from Gujarat and 11 from UP. Since Priyanka’s political plunge, there had been talk that she may contest polls from Rae Bareli and Sonia may withdraw from active politics. It seems clear that Sonia will remain in the political arena, leaving the room for a back-room role in negotiating with opposition leaders she has worked with if such a situation arises after elections.

The Congress move to start the announcement of 2019 LS candidates with UP is politically significant as SP and BSP have left it out of their anti-BJP coalition in the crucial state. Congress is still in talks with the two regional parties for a pact but no decision has emerged yet. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav has tended to sidestep the issue by claiming that Congress is part of the alliance with the SP-BSP alliance not contesting Rae Bareli and Amethi.

Besides the Gandhi family turf, former minister Jitin Prasad has been fielded from Dhaurhara where he lost in 2014. Imran Masood would contest from Saharanpur, Saleem Shervani from Badaun, Annu Tandon from Unnao, former minister Salman Khursheed from Farrukhabad, Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur, Brij Lal Khabri from Jalaun reserved seat, Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad and RPN Singh from Kushinagar. Barring Jalaun, Badaun and Saharanpur, Congress won all other seats in 2009 before losing in the Modi wave of 2014. Rahul and Sonia were the only Congress leaders who managed to win in 2014.

In Gujarat, former state unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki will contest from Anand. Raju Parmar will contest from Ahmedabad west, Prashant Patel from Vadodara and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa from Chhota Udaipur.

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Sonia Gandhi, Rahul in Congress’ 1st list of 15, but not Priyanka – Times of India
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