Sonia, Rahul in Cong first LS list of 15

Sonia, Rahul in Cong first LS list of 15

Ending all speculation, Congress on Thursday declared the candidature of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from her home-turf Rae Bareli in the first list of candidates which was out even before the announcement of the dates of the Lok Sabha elections.

There was a lot of speculation that Sonia may not contest the Lok Sabha polls and make way for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was only last month brought in the national mainstream of politics and given the charge of electorally crucial eastern Uttar Pradesh.

This is perhaps for the first time in the recent past that Congress has announced the names of candidates before the dates of the Lok Sabha elections is out.

The Central Election Committee of the Congress released the first list of 15 candidates – 11 from Uttar Pradesh and four from Gujarat.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi, where Union Minister Smriti Irani had given him a tough fight in 2014.

Former union ministers Salman Khursheed, Jitin Prasada, R P N Singh will be in the fray from Farrukhabad, Dhaurahra and Kushi Nagar respectively.

In Gujarat, former Union Minister Bharatsinh Solanki will contest from Anand, while Raju Parmar will be in the fray from Ahmedabad West. Prashant Patel and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa will test the electoral waters from Vadodara and Chhota Udaipur respectively.

Controversial Muslim leader Imran Masood, who had threatened to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, will again contest from Saharanpur, his stronghold.

Gandhi family confidante Annu Tandon will contest from Unnao, a seat she represented in 2009 and lost in 2014. Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Nirmal Khatri has been fielded from Faizabad. Brij Lal Khabri (Jalaun), Saleem Iqbal Shervani (Badaun), Rajaram Pal (Akbarpur) will be in the fray.