- Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are among 15 candidates
- List has 11 candidates in Uttar Pradesh, four candidates in Gujarat
- The Congress first list does not include Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are among 15 candidates named by the Congress in its first list for the national election just weeks away. The list names 11 candidates in Uttar Pradesh and four candidates in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, and his mother Sonia Gandhi, will contest from Amethi and Raebareli, the family strongholds that have voted them since 2004.
Amethi and Raebareli are the only seats the Congress had retained in the 80-seat Uttar Pradesh when they were decimated by the BJP in the 2014 general elections.
The Congress first list does not include Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who joined politics in January and was made the party general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh. There was speculation that Priyanka Gandhi could contest from her mother's constituency. Priyanka Gandhi has, for years, campaigned for her mother and brother in Raebareli and Amethi. Thursday's announcement also ends speculation about Sonia Gandhi retiring.
The Congress announced that it will contest all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh after the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party announced a grand alliance in January without the party. The rivals-turned-partners made one concession for the Congress; they said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Also on the Congress list is senior leader Salman Khurshid, who will contest from Farrukhabad, where he had contested from and lost in 2014.
The other leaders on the list for UP are RPN Singh from Kushi Nagar, Imran Masood from Saharanpur, Jitin Prasad from Dhaurahra, Annu Tandon from Unnao, Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur, Brij Lal Khabri from Jalaun and Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad.
In Gujarat, senior Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki will contest from Anand. He had won the Lok Sabha elections from the seat in 2004 and 2009. But he lost to Dilipbhai Patel of the BJP in 2014.
Raju Parmar will contest the elections from Ahmedabad West seat, Prashant Patel will contest from Vadodara, and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa will contest from Chhota Udaipur seat.