Digvijaya Singh, Karti Chidambaram In Congress’ Latest List For Lok Sabha Polls

Digvijaya Singh, Karti Chidambaram In Congress' Latest List For Lok Sabha Polls

The names of 45 candidates have been released.

New Delhi:

With less than a month to go for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress released its fourth list of 45 candidates on Saturday. Some of the big names on the list are former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Karti Chidambaram and Danish Ali, who joined the party on Wednesday, but it is also notable for its omissions.

Congress’ Uttar Pradesh President Ajay Rai will contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi for the third straight time. Despite naming candidates from Uttar Pradesh for the first time, however, the party has kept the suspense going on the all-important Amethi and Rae Bareli seats. 

The two constituencies have been Congress bastions, barring Rahul Gandhi’s shock defeat to BJP’s Smriti Irani from Amethi in 2019. While Mr Gandhi is likely to contest from Amethi again, in addition to Kerala’s Wayanad, all eyes are on the Rae Bareli seat, from where his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is expected to make her political debut. 

The seat was vacated by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has won it five straight times. Mrs Gandhi is now a member of the Rajya Sabha. As part of its seat-sharing arrangement with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is contesting 17 out of 80 seats and has now named candidates for nine. 

Digvijaya Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, has been fielded from his former Lok Sabha constituency of Rajgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Mr Singh had last won a general election from the same constituency in 1991 and his comeback attempt is expected to be an uphill battle as the Congress had won only one of the state’s 29 seats in 2019. The senior leader had fought against Pragya Thakur of the BJP from Bhopal that year, and lost by a margin of over 3.5 lakh votes.

Karti Chidambaram has been nominated from the Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu, which he had won in 2019 and lost in 2014. The seat has been a stronghold of the Chidambaram family and Karti’s father and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram held it – barring one term – since 1984.   

Former BSP leader Danish Ali, who represented the Mayawati-led party in the Lok Sabha from Amroha, has been nominated from the same seat by the Congress. The nomination has come just three days after he joined the party. Mr Ali, who was the target of alleged communal slurs in Parliament from BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in September last year, was suspended by the BSP in December after he spoke in support of Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra. 

Some of the other notable names on the list are former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria, who will contest from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh; Virender Rawat – son of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat – from Haridwar; and Manickam Tagore from Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu. 

While the Congress has released a list of 46 constituencies, it has named candidates only on 45. The fourth list now takes the total number of candidates announced by the party to 183.

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