Rahul Gandhi likely to file nomination from Raebareli, KL Sharma from Amethi: Sources

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Raebareli with the party announcing his candidature for the seat on Friday, the last day of filing nomination, the sources said.

As per the sources, Congress’ loyalist KL Sharma will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Amethi, the seat Rahul Gandhi lost in the 2019 general elections to BJP leader Smriti Irani. Friday is the last date for filing nominations for the seats that will go to polls on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections.

The Congress has not yet put out any official statement on its choice of nominees from Amethi and Raebareli, which were considered the party’s strongholds until the 2019 elections. Raebareli, the constituency was held by Sonia Gandhi who became a member of the Rajya Sabha.

The party has won the Congress bastion in all but three Lok Sabha elections since 1951. Before Sonia Gandhi, former PM Indira Gandhi had won from Raebareli three times. The constituency also elected Indira’s husband and Congress leader Feroze Gandhi twice, in 1952 and 1957. A member of the Nehru-Gandhi family has not contested the seat just twice, in 1962 and 1999.

Both constituencies are traditional strongholds of the Gandhi-Nehru family, with its members holding these seats for decades. The Congress, which is contesting 17 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh as part of the seat-sharing deal with the Samajwadi Party (SP), has announced candidates for all the seats barring Amethi and Raebareli.

Amethi is scheduled to poll in the fifth phase on May 20, with the last date for filing nominations scheduled on May 3. Rahul’s defeat in Amethi, once considered a Congress ‘pocket borough’, at the hands of Smriti Irani in the 2019 polls was seen as a significant blow to the party’s national prestige.

Rahul represented Amethi in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2019. His father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, too, was an elected member of Amethi in the Lower House from 1981 till his death in 1991. Sonia Gandhi contested elections from here in 1999 before passing the baton on to Rahul in 2004. Rahul currently represents Wayanad in the Lok Sabha while Irani is bidding for a fresh term from Amethi.

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