Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are among 15 candidates named by the Congress in its first list for the national election just weeks away. The list names 11 candidates in Uttar Pradesh and four candidates in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, and his mother Sonia Gandhi, will contest from Amethi and Raebareli, the family strongholds that have voted them since 2004.
Amethi and Raebareli are the only seats the Congress had retained in the 80-seat Uttar Pradesh when they were decimated by the BJP in the 2014 general elections.
The Congress first list does not include Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who joined politics in January and was made the party general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh. There was speculation that Priyanka Gandhi could contest from her mother’s constituency. Priyanka Gandhi has, for years, campaigned for her mother and brother in Raebareli and Amethi. Thursday’s announcement also ends speculation about Sonia Gandhi retiring.
The Congress announced that it will contest all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh after the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party announced a grand alliance in January without the party. The rivals-turned-partners made one concession for the Congress; they said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli.