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India election: Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli

Update : 03 May 2024, 15:59

Rahul Gandhi, one of India's top opposition figures, will contest in the ongoing general elections from Raebareli in the country's north, his party, the Indian National Congress announced Friday.

Gandhi is seen as a key challenger to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is vying for a third successive term after being in power since 2014.

As India enters the third phase of the world's largest democratic election, all eyes were on whether Gandhi would contest from Raebareli or the adjoining Amethi, where he lost in the last general election in 2019.

The announcement came on the last day of filing nominations for the seat, which goes to the polls on May 20.

Gandhi is already contesting from Wayanad in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where he is seeking reelection.

Wayanad went to the polls on April 26.

In India, candidates are allowed to run for more than one seat, but they can only keep one in the event of multiple wins.

Last bastion of the Gandhi family

Raebareli, which is situated in the country's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, has been the traditional bastion seat for Gandhi's family — India's most famous political dynasty.

The seat was held by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rahul's grandmother, from 1967 to 1977.

In the 2019 election, his Italian-born mother, Sonia, won from Raebareli, making it the only seat the main opposition Congress party won of a total of 80 in Uttar Pradesh.

Amethi had been another pocket borough for the Gandhi family till it was swept by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  in the last election.

Due to its size, Uttar Pradesh is a crucial electoral battleground. To clinch a national victory, a party needs to win a large number of seats in the state.

India's mammoth national election, which began on April 9, is being conducted in seven phases over a period of six weeks. 

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