Putting an end to all speculations, the Congress on Thursday named 2014 candidate Ajay Rai from high-profile Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress fielded Ajay Rai against Modi in 2014 as well. He finished third in the contest, after Modi and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.
The development comes as speculations were rife that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra might contest against PM Modi from Varanasi.
Even as there was no official communication on her candidature, the name of Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has been making the rounds as a possible candidate from Varanasi.
Many a time, Priyanka has herself said that she would contest the high-voltage Lok Sabha polls if her party wants to.
The announcement comes on a day when PM Modi will hold a roadshow and take part in the Ganga ‘aarti’, a day before he files his nomination papers from Varanasi where he is seeking a second term.
The nomination on April 26 will also see a show of strength with several BJP allies, including Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray and Janata Dal-United’s Nitish Kumar, expected to accompany Modi when he files the papers.
The Congress also announced Madhusudan Tiwari as its candidate from Gorakhpur.
Varanasi is going to the polls in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19. Results will be declared on May 23.