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'Rahul Gandhi To Contest From Amethi' Says UP Congress Chief: What's the Reason?

'Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi. Priyanka ji can contest from Varanasi if she wishes to,' Ajay Rai said.

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Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President Ajay Rai said on Friday, 18 August, that Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi.

Rai also said that if Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra decides to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi, the party and its cadres would ensure her victory.

"Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi. Priyanka ji can contest from Varanasi if she wishes to do so," Rai said while speaking to the press.

The backdrop: Gandhi had lost from Amethi, considered to be a Congress bastion, in the 2019 general elections to Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani by a margin of around 55,000 votes.

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However, since he contested the election from both Amethi and Wayanad, he managed to win the latter and become an MP.

Rai's statements on Priyanka Gandhi come close on the heels of her husband and businessman Robert Vadra hinting that she could join electoral politics.

"She (Priyanka should be in Lok Sabha for sure. She has all the qualifications for it. She would be very good in Parliament and she deserves to be there. I hope that the Congress party accepts and plans better for her," Vadra had told news agency PTI.

Why Is Rahul Planning to Contest from Amethi Again?

"He has has family links with Amethi and he has represented the seat thrice. The defeat (in 2019) can't take away his deep connection with the seat," a UP Congress leader told The Quint.

The sense in the Congress is that if Gandhi doesn't contest from Amethi, it would send a wrong signal that the party has given up on Uttar Pradesh. This is something that the party can't afford as UP is essential if the party is to revive at the national level.

There is another aspect to this.

After the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi's appeal among anti-BJP voters, especially minorities, has increased.

The Congress wants to ensure that this vote isn't squandered away in Uttar Pradesh and Rahul Gandhi contesting from Amethi is a way to ensure this.

Also hypothetically, if there is a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party for the Lok Sabha elections, the allocation of seats for the Grand Old Party would greatly depend on its ability to put forward strong candidates in specific seats.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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