The Congress has released its first list of candidates who will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to be conducted soon. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest the LS polls from Amethi as usual, while UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will contest from Rae Bareli. The Congress first list of candidates released on Thursday night names 15 candidates. The list does not have the name of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who recently joined the party.
As many as 11 of the 15 candidates announced on Thursday are for Uttar Pradesh seats. The rest of the four candidates will contest from Gujarat.
In UP, former Union ministers Salman Khurshid has been fielded contest from Farrukhabad, Jitin Prasad from Dhaurahra and RPN Singh from Kushi Nagar. All three will contesting from their respective traditional seats which they lost in 2014. Khurshid and Shervani are seen as the old guard while Prasad and Singh are among the younger faces in the Congress.
Former MPs Annu Tandon has been fielded from Unnao, Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad, and Saleem Iqbal Shervani from Badaun. Rajaram Pal and Brij Lal Khabri, who had joined the Congress from Bahujan Samaj Party, will contest from Abkarpur and Jalaun, respectively.
Imran Masood has been fielded again from Saharanpur. He had made controversial remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2014 LS polls and had been censured by the Congress leadership. He was also asked to issue a public clarification.
In Gujarat, former Rajya Sabha MP Raju Parmar has been fielded from Ahmedabad West, former Union Minister and former state unit chief Bharatsinh M Solanki from Anand, Prashant Patel from Vadodara and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa from Chhota Udaipur.
While the Congress has released its first list, the schedule of Lok Sabha elections is yet to be declared. The ruling BJP is yet to declare its first list of candidates.
Meanwhile, speculation continues if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party general secretary of eastern Uttar Pradesh, will enter the poll fray.
In UP, the Congress has part of any alliance, though it has not ruled out possibility of a tie-ups with smaller parties.
Congress leaders said the list shows that the party will contest the elections “on the front foot” and strongly.
The list comes days before the meeting of Congress Working Committee, which will meet in Gujarat, the home state of Modi.