Congress finalises 40 names, including Rahul, for Lok Sabha polls

Rahul Gandhi will seek re-election from Kerala's Wayanad seat, according to the sources.

New Delhi: The Congress’ Central Election Committee (CEC) on Thursday finalised the names of 40 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections including that of Rahul Gandhi from Kerala’s Wayanad, sources said.

A total of 60 Lok Sabha seats from 11 states and union territories were discussed during deliberations at the CEC meeting which was chaired by party president Mallikarjun Kharge, they said.

Discussions were held on Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Sikkim, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Lakshwadeep.

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Congress’ legislature party leader V D Satheesan said the party will contest 16 seats in Kerala and four will be contested by its allies in the state.

“The CEC has taken a decision as to who are the candidates on the 16 seats. The AICC will announce the names of the candidates tomorrow,” Satheesan said.

Rahul Gandhi will seek re-election from Kerala’s Wayanad seat, according to the sources.

AICC in-charge Delhi Deepak Babaria said a preliminary discussion took place for Delhi candidates, where the party is contesting three seats while its INDIA bloc ally AAP is contesting the remaining four.

He said a discussion on Delhi seats will be held again on March 11.

While former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel would be fielded from Rajnandgaon, former minister Tamradhwaj Sahu is set to fight the elections from the state’s Mahasamund seat. Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal is also among the finalised candidates, the sources said.

Former Chhattisgarh deputy chief minister T S Singhdeo would not be contesting the polls, they added.

Kharge, former party chief Sonia Gandhi and Venugopal, as well as other senior leaders who are part of the CEC were present at the meeting.

The Congress has not declared any candidate so far. Last week, the BJP came out with its first list of 195 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress sources said the party is likely to declare its first list of candidates soon to enable the nominees to start campaigning.

Rahul Gandhi may also contest from Amethi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Rae Bareli, a seat which was previously held by Sonia Gandhi. Both the seats are considered bastions of the Gandhi family and the local units of the Congress have demanded that the two scions of the Congress first family should contest from there.

Rahul Gandhi, who was previously an MP from Amethi, lost the seat in 2019 but won from Wayanad in Kerala.

Meanwhile, several state units of the Congress have already held meetings of their respective screening committees and forwarded the list of probable candidates in their states.

Ambika Soni, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, T S Singhdeo and Mohammad Jawaid are other members of the CEC.

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