Congress Fields Ajay Rai Against PM Modi In Varanasi: 5 Points

Ajay Rai joined the Congress in 2012

Congress Fields Ajay Rai Against PM Modi In Varanasi: 5 Points

The Congress has once again fielded Ajay Rai from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. Mr Rai, who is the party chief in UP, will fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the third time Ajay Rai will face PM Modi in a Lok Sabha contest.

Here are five facts about Ajay Rai:

1. Ajay Rai was born on October 7, 1969, to Surendra Rai and Parvati Devi Rai in Varanasi. A graduate of the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith University in Varanasi, Mr Rai started his political career as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ‘karyakarta' before he became the convener of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

2. Mr Rai contested his first Assembly elections in 1996 on a BJP ticket from the Kolasla constituency in UP and emerged victorious. He would go on to retain the seat in 2002 and then again in 2007. Two years later, he quit the BJP after being denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections. He contested the 2009 polls from Varanasi on a Samajwadi Party ticket and came third after BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi and Bahujan Samaj Party's Mukhtar Ansari. 

3. Ajay Rai was once again elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in the 2009 Kolasla by-election, this time as an Independent candidate. He joined the Congress in 2012 and won the newly formed Pindra Assembly seat in Varanasi.

4. He contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi and finished a distant third behind Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. In 2017, he unsuccessfully contested the UP Assembly elections from the Pindra seat.

5. In 2019, Ajay Rai was once again pitted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. With a massive 63% vote share, PM Modi won handsomely, while Mr Rai finished third behind Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. In 2023, he was named the president of the Congress' UP unit.