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Rumour scotched, Sonia to fight LS poll; Cong list out

Party announces 11 candidates for UP, 4 for Gujrat

The Congress has become first off the block in naming candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in UP and Gujarat when its announced the list of 15 candidates — 11 for UP and four  for Gujarat — on Thursday. Ending all speculation about Sonia Gandhi fighting eletion due to ill health, the Congress announced that the UPA chairperson will contest from her Rae Bareilly Lok Sabha constituency. As expected, Rahul Gandhi will seek re-election from Amethi. However, the party has kept everyone guessing whether Priyanka Gandhi,  assigned with the arduous task of reviving the party  in eastern Uttar Pradesh, will also contest the polls. There was widespread speculation that Priyanka will be fielded from Rae Bareli. Sonia has been representing this constituency ever since she launched herself in politics. The first  list of Congress UP candidates has been announced before Priyanka revisits the State to galvanise the cadres and fine tune her campaign strategy. The list of Gujarat candidates is also significant. The Congress Working Committee is scheduled to meet there next week followed by a public rally of Rahul-Priyanka combine in the home State of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress had managed to win from only  Amethi and Rae Bareli in UP. The Congress has fielded Prashant Patel from Vadodara and Bharatsinh Solanki from Anand. Both seats are BJP strongholds. Modi had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Vadodara. Imran Masood has been fielded from Saharanpur, while former Union Minister Salman Khurshid from Farukkhabad. Sources said the party will repeat all the 22 winning Lok Sabha candidates of the 2009 general elections. It has also zeroed in  on the runners up of 2014 Lok Sabha polls or the bigwigs and rebels of the BJP and the SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan alliance. Former Union Ministers Jitin Prasad and RPN Singh have been fielded from their traditional seats of Dhaurahra and Kushi Nagar respectively. Former UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri will contest from Faizabad. Ahmedabad (west) will see Raju Parmar as its candidate, Ranjit Mohan Sinh Rathwa has been fielded from Chhota Udaipur in Gujarat. Others from UP are Salim Iqbal from Muslim dominated Badaun in West UP, senior leader Annu Tandon from Unnao, Raja Rampal from Akbarpur and Brij Lal from Jalaun will try their fortunes in the highly pitched poll battle in the summer of 2019. Friday, 08 March 2019 | Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi

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