Rahul Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha elections from Raebareli

Opposition leader is main challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian National Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi has filed a nomination from Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections. Reuters
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Rahul Gandhi, a key leader of the main opposition party the Indian National Congress, will stand for elections from the family bastion of Raebareli after his mother Sonia Gandhi quit electoral politics.

Mr Gandhi, 53, has already been contesting the seat to Lok Sabha, the upper house of parliament, from Wayanad constituency in southern Kerala state in India's elections.

India, the world’s largest democracy, allows all eligible citizens to stand for election as independent candidates or with a political party.

Mr Gandhi is seen as the main challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh has been a stronghold of the grand old party.

Mr Gandhi’s mother and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi represented the seat from 2004 to 2024 before she vacated it in February and moved to Rajya Sabha, the upper house.

The constituency will go to the polls on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections.

The leader was expected to file a second nomination from neighbouring Amethi, a seat he held from 2004 to 2019 before he was defeated by Smriti Irani, the BJP leader and Minister of Women and Child Development.

Mr Gandhi’s centre-left party, which was formed before Indian independence and has given the country three prime ministers, had ruled for a decade until Mr Modi’s BJP stormed to power in 2014.

It has promised higher basic wages, job guarantees, affirmative action for castes and to uphold religious and personal freedom.

The first phase of elections took place on April 19 while the third phase is scheduled for May 7.

Updated: May 03, 2024, 7:54 AM