Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi may contest the national election again from Raebareli, the family stronghold in Uttar Pradesh that has voted her since 2004.
It is not official and the formal announcement is expected only early next month, but Sonia Gandhi, 72, will contest, say sources, tackling speculation about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting from Raebareli after her political debut last month.
Sonia Gandhi led the Congress for 19 years before handing over charge to her son Rahul Gandhi in 2017. She remains the chairperson of the UPA and is seen as the main negotiator with allies. Party leaders said she would reduce her public engagements and political role because of her health problems, for which she travels to the US. This was a factor that spurred talk about her opting out of the contest.
Priyanka Gandhi, who has campaigned for years in the Gandhi strongholds of Raebareli and Amethi -- the constituencies of her mother Sonia and brother Rahul Gandhi -- joined the party as its general secretary in charge of the campaign in the eastern half of Uttar Pradesh. The other half has been assigned to Jyotiraditya Scindia.
In the 2014 election, the Congress was decimated in Uttar Pradesh and managed to keep only Amethi and Raebareli in the 80 seat-state.
Priyanka Gandhi had earlier told NDTV in 2017 that her mother would contest from Raebareli and she would do as she was expected -- to actively campaign and look after her mother's constituency along with the other 40 Uttar Pradesh seats she has been assigned.
This time, Congress leaders say Priyanka Gandhi is expected to go beyond Raebareli and campaign extensively across the state, which sends the largest number of parliamentarians and is considered vital for taking power at the centre. But she will not contest, despite pressure from workers.
Sonia Gandhi contested from Amethi in the 1999 polls but switched to Raebareli when Rahul Gandhi contested his first election in 2004.
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