In a massive development in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress on Thursday has declared that Ajay Rai will be the party's candidate to contest the elections from Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi constituency against BJP's candidate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress party released the list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats:
While speculations were high that Congress's newly-appointed general secretary Priyanka Gandhi will be pitted against PM Modi from Varanasi, it was on the party president Rahul Gandhi to take the final call.
Five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Rai is a local strongman in the Varanasi area for the Congress party. While he started his political journey as a BJP leader, in 2009 he joined the Indian National Congress. In 2014 General Elections, Ajay Rai was the Congress candidate from Varanasi against BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi. However, he lost to PM Modi, coming third after AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
PM Narendra Modi had won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, defeating Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal by a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes in 2014.
With Uttar Pradesh going to polls in all seven phases, Varanasi will vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha election on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Meanwhile, PM Modi will file his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on Friday, April 26. Ahead of filing his nomination on Friday, he will carry out a 7-km mega roadshow on April 25, Thursday, in his bastion in Uttar Pradesh.
On Thursday, the 7-km roadshow will begin from the Malviya statue at 3 pm and end at the Dashashwamedha Ghat, following which the Prime Minister will participate in Ganga Aarti.