Cong first list: Sonia Gandhi to contest from Raebareli, Rahul from Amethi

New Delhi, March 7: Congress on late Thursday evening released the first list of 15 candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

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The first list, finalised at a meeting of the party’s central election committee chaired by Rahul Gandhi, names 11 candidates from Uttar Pradesh and four from Gujarat.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will contest from Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli constituency and Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi constituency.

Former Union ministers Salman Khurshid, Jitin Prasad and R P N 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 M Solanki, the party’s ex-chief of the Gujarat unit, has been fielded from the state’s Anand constituency.

Congress leader Raju Parmar will contest from the Ahmedabad West-SC constituency, Prashant Patel from the Vadodara constituency, and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa from the Chhota Udaipur-ST constituency, all in Gujarat.

In Uttar Pradesh, Imran Masood from the Saharanpur constituency, Saleem Iqbal Shervani from the Badaun constituency, Annu Tandon from the Unnao constituency, Rajaram Pal from the Akbarpur constituency, Brij Lal Khabri from the Jalaun-SC constituency, and Nirmal Khatri from the Faizabad constituency.

The announcement comes amidst reports that Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel is set to join the Congress before the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

Top Congress sources told PTI that Hardik Patel is likely to join the party on March 12. “He is likely to contest the election from Jamnagar constituency,” they said.

Sources added that Hardik Patel, who gained prominence after leading the agitation demanding reservation for the Patidar community in Gujarat, is expected to join the Congress in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi.

Hardik Patel’s entry into Congress is set to coincide with the Congress Working Committee or CWC meeting in Ahmedabad. It is learnt that along with Patel, five other members of the PAAS core group of the nine, would also join the Congress.

On February 6, Hardik Patel had announced at a rally in Lucknow that he will contest the upcoming General Election. It may be recalled that 25-year-old Hardik could not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha poll because he was not eligible to contest for the Lower House. In December 2017, Hardik had said that he would definitely enter the political arena once he will be eligible for the same.

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