Here's why Rahul can't contest from 3 seats in LS polls

Here's why Rahul can't contest from 3 seats in LS polls

Congress President Rahul Gandhi. (PTI File Photo)

Two TV news channels on Tuesday ran stories about Rahul Gandhi's plan to contest from three seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Except that to do so is impossible in India.

Republic TV and Times Now cited sources in their news reports.

Screenshot of Republic TV
Screenshot of Republic TV article.

Republic TV published the story as a 'political scoop' titled 'Concerned About Losing In Amethi, Congress Mulling Three Seats For Rahul Gandhi To Contest 2019 Elections.' The report says that sources revealed to the channel that Rahul would contest from two more seats apart from his sitting seat, Amethi. 

The report says that the possible candidature of Smriti Irani from the BJP may cause Rahul's defeat since the textile minister has been a regular visitor to Amethi following her failure in the 2014 elections. The story says that Rahul may contest from Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara or Nanded in Maharashtra. Chhindwara is a strong Congress seat represented by current Chief Minister Kamal Nath, while Nanded stood with the party during the Modi wave in 2014. The report also talks about a possible contest from Punjab or Chandigarh.

Screenshot of Times Now article
Screenshot of Times Now news story.

The Times Now report was headlined 'Amethi no more a safe bet? Congress president Rahul Gandhi may contest Lok Sabha polls from 3 seats'. The channel says the news comes after Union Minister Smriti Irani predicted that Rahul would lose his sitting seat in Amethi.

Why is this impossible?

These claims are wrong because, as per the law, no candidate can contest more than two seats.

In a 2012 verdict, the Supreme Court made this point clear. The judgement pronounced by the bench of the then Chief Justice H L Dattu, cancelled the candidature of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in two constituencies out of the four that she had filed nomination papers in for the 2001 Assembly elections. Moreover, Section 33(7)(b) of the Representation of the People Act bars a candidate from contesting more than two constituencies.

Screenshot of Times Now report
Screenshot of on-air report.

Times Now has, however, edited their online news item on Wednesday. Now, the article says that Rahul may contest from two seats but their clip of the on-air report is still available on the website. As of the time of publishing this DH story, the Republic TV article still has the 'three-seat' claim.

Speculation over Priyanka's entry

Priyanka Gandhi's formal entry to politics as a general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh has triggered speculations about her possible candidature from Sonia Gandhi's constituency, Rae Bareli. Some say Rahul will shed Amethi for his sister as he is planning to contest from a strong constituency.

The BJP has responded to the latest Congress party move by saying that it vindicates the failure of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it's dynastic.

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