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Congress releases first list of 15 candidates for Lok Sabha polls, Sonia Gandhi to contest from Rae Bareli

Mar 7 (AZINS) The Congress on Thursday released its first list of candidates for upcoming Lok Sabha elections, announcing that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will contest from her traditional Lok Sabha seat of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi, a seat he has held since joining active politics in 2004.

This is the first list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls by any national political party.

Sonia Gandhi's candidature put an end to speculation that her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was recently appointed General Secretary incharge of UP East, may contest from Rae Bareli.  ?This is the sixth time Sonia Gandhi is contesting Lok Sabha polls while for Rahul it is fourth.

Besides the two top leaders of the opposition party, the Congress has declared Imran Masood, who had threatened to chop the then Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP Narendra Modi into pieces during campaigning in 2014, will contest from Saharanpur.

In the first list of 15 candidates, four are in Gujarat while rest are in UP where Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have joined together to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

The list was finalised at a meeting of the party's central election committee chaired by Rahul Gandhi. Former Union ministers Salman Khurshid, Jitin Prasad and RPN Singh have been fielded from their traditional seats of Farrukhabad, Dhaurahra and Kushi Nagar respectively.

Former UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri will contest from Faizabad, while Bharatsinh Solanki, the party's ex-chief of the Gujarat unit, has been fielded from the state's Anand constituency.

The party has fielded Imran Masood from Saharanpur, Saleem Iqbal Shervani from Badaun, Annu Tandon from Unnao, Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur, and Brij Lal Khabri from Jalaun (SC).

Apart from Solanki, the other candidates named from Gujarat are -- Raju Parmar from Ahmedabad West (SC), Prashant Patel from Vadodra, and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa from Chotta Udaipur (ST).

Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats out of which the Congress had won just two (Amethi and Raebareli) in 2014, while Gujarat has 26 seats and the Congress had drawn a blank in 2014.

BSP chief Mayawati and SP's Akhilesh Yadav had jointly announced their alliance in January. On Tuesday, Yadav, at a press conference in Lucknow with RLD's Jayant Chaudhary, had said the Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest three Lok Sabha seats as part of an alliance with the SP and the BSP.

After repeated questions by reporters at the press conference, the SP chief had said the Congress was "very much in the alliance".

"We have left two seats (Amethi and Raebareli) for the party (Congress)," he had said.

Here is the complete list of candidates in the list:

Gujarat

Ahmedabad West - SC: Raju Parmar

Anand: Bharatsinh M Solanki

Vadodara: Prashant Patel

Chhota Udaipur - ST: Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa

Uttar Pradesh

Saharanpur: Imran Masood

Badaun: Saleem Iqbal Shervani

Dhaurhara: Jitin Prasad

Unnao: Annu Tandon

Rae Bareli: Sonia Gandhi

Amethi: Rahul Gandhi

Farrukhabad: Salman Khursheed

Akbarpur: Rajaram Pal

Jalaun - SC: Brij Lal Khabri

Faizabad: Nirmal Khatri

Kushi Nagar: RPN Singh

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