Sonia Gandhi Rahul Gandhi
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (left) and Congress President Rahul Gandhi.Reuters

The Congress on Thursday, March 6, released its first list of 15 candidates for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with party chief Rahul Gandhi contesting his bastion Amethi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi contesting from her home turf, Rae Bareli.

Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Gandhi bastion in Uttar Pradesh that has 80 Parliamentary constituencies, are the only seats Congress had managed to won in the state in the 2014 general elections.

congress first list

The list of 15 candidates, finalised at a meeting of the party's central election committee chaired by Rahul Gandhi, does not include Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had recently announced her political debut and was made the Congress's General Secretary for UP East.

The list comprises 4 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, including the Vadodara and Anand constituencies that are BJP strongholds, and 11 in UP where a formal alliance with the three-party combine led by Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati and Ajit Singh did not work out.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Vadodara. Prashant Patel has been fielded as the party candidate from Vadodara while senior party leader Salman Khursheed will contest from Farrukhabad, where he had contested and lost in 2014.

RPN Singh will contest from Kushi Nagar constituency and senior Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki will contest the Anand seat. Solanki had earlier lost to BJP's Dilipbhai Patel in 2014.

Raju Parmar will contest the 2019 LS elections from Ahmedabad West, which is a reserved seat for the Scheduled Castes (SC). Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa will be contesting the Chhota Udaipur seat in Gujarat, which is a reserved seat for the Scheduled Tribes (ST).

The other leaders on the list for UP are: Imran Masood will be contesting from Saharanpur, Saleem Iqbal Sheervani from Badaun, Jitin Prasad from Dhaurahra, Annu Tandon from Unnao, Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur, Brij Lal Khabri from Jalaun and Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad.

Recently, the Congress had announced that it will contest all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh after it was left out of their alliance by Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati. However, the SP-BSP alliance had said they would not field their candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli.