rahul and priyanka gandhi
2, Apr 2024
Rahul, Priyanka keep Congress guessing on Amethi, Raebareli

In 2019, the Congress’s first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections — 11 from Uttar Pradesh and four from Gujarat — featured both Amethi and Raebareli. Sonia Gandhi and then Congress president Rahul Gandhi contested from their family’s traditional bastions, with the former winning and the latter losing to the BJP’s Smriti Irani.

rahul and priyanka gandhi

Rahul, Priyanka keep Congress guessing on Amethi, Raebareli

Perhaps aware that his position in Amethi was shaky, Rahul, in a surprise move, also entered the fray from Wayanad in Kerala, a constituency he currently represents. Cut to 2024. Sonia has decided against contesting from Raebareli, moving to the Rajya Sabha, and the party announced Rahul’s candidature from Wayanad on March 8 in its first list of 39 candidates.

But almost a month and 12 lists later, there is still uncertainty, or as some in the party say, a “strategic silence,” on whether Rahul and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest from Amethi and Raebareli respectively to keep alive their family’s connection with Uttar Pradesh, or not. With Priyanka by his side, Rahul will file his nomination papers from Wayanad on Wednesday. Read: | INDIA  mega rally: Opposition rings alarm on free and fair polls, urges EC to step in and act Congress leaders say there is still a lot of time to decide. Amethi and Raebareli go to polls on May 20 in the fifth phase and the last date for filing nominations is May 3.

But, interestingly, the party has announced candidates in seats such as Maharajganj, Deoria, Bansgaon, and Varanasi that vote in the last phase on June 1. Apart from Amethi and Raebareli, the Congress has also yet to announce candidates for Prayagraj and Mathura. While in the case of others, it is the Congress’s Central Election Committee that takes a call on candidates —generally, a decision gets delayed when there is more than one strong claimant — senior Congress members say without any qualms that the Gandhi siblings will decide if they will enter the poll fray from UP.

Most of them are left with little option but to read signals and hazard intelligent guesses on the possible moves of the siblings. “Priyanka’s presence at the India bloc rally on Sunday is a signal that she may contest. She is active. Otherwise, she would not have been there at the rally since Sonia, Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress president), and Rahul were all attending,” said a senior leader who is a key member of the party’s decision-making apparatus. But another party functionary did not seem so sure.

“They may not contest. That is the signal I am picking up from those close to him.” There are different strands of opinion in the party on the reason behind this delay and whether it is a deliberate move.

A section believes there is no uncertainty or confusion and that the Gandhi siblings will contest from UP, the Hindi heartland state that is the most important in the journey to national power, and the decision will be announced at “the appropriate time.”.

Read | Congress list for Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Check full list here “Rahul not contesting from Amethi will send a terrible political signal. I see no reason why he won’t contest. The Gandhis not contesting from Amethi and Raebareli will give the BJP a potent campaign talking point — that they have run away as they are not sure of their victories in Uttar Pradesh. It will be terrible in terms of optics in the northern states,” said a leader.


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