Updated February 15th, 2024 at 13:59 IST

From Rae Bareli to Rajasthan: Will Sonia Gandhi's Rajya Sabha Switch Galvanize Congress?

Earlier, during the 2019 elections, Sonia Gandhi had announced that it would be her last Lok Sabha election.

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi | Image: PTI/File
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Jaipur: Former Congress president and Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination papers for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from Rajasthan. She was accompanied by son Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Govind Singh Dotasra. 

She arrived at Jaipur airport on Wednesday morning. Sonia was accompanied by son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

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Sonia Gandhi will represent Rajasthan and this would be her first term in the Upper House after serving five terms as a Lok Sabha MP. Earlier, during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Sonia Gandhi had announced that it would be her last Lok Sabha election.

 

Congress Says Sonia's Presence To Strengthen Party 

The Congress leaders opined that Sonia Gandhi entering Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan will strengthen the party. State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra said, “This decision will give us strength. We will perform very well under the leadership of Mallikarjun Kharge and you (Sonia Gandhi). We will make Congress win. Our goal is to ensure that Rahul Gandhi becomes the PM of the country”. 

On the development, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said, “We heartily welcome the announcement of respected Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji as the Rajya Sabha candidate from the Congress Party, who renounced the post of Prime Minister. Today her announcement as Rajya Sabha candidate from Rajasthan is a matter of happiness for the entire state and with this announcement all the old memories have been refreshed." 

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While Rajasthan BJP chief CP Joshi said that it would have been better if the Congress party gave this opportunity to some local leader. "Congress in its history brings people from outside most of the time. It seems they don't find any eligibility in local leaders. It would have been good if they would have given preference to the local leaders..." said Joshi. 

Sonia Gandhi To Be Second Member Of Family To Enter RS

The Congress is comfortably placed to win one of the three Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan for which elections will be held. The seat will fall vacant after former prime minister Manmohan Singh completes his six-year tenure in April. 

She will be the second member of the Gandhi family to enter Rajya Sabha after former prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was a member of the Upper House from August 1964 to February 1967.

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Why Congress Picked Rajasthan? 

Sonia Gandhi is the person from the Gandhi family who would be contesting Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan. 

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Sonia Gandhi choosing to contest from Rajasthan and not from a southern state like Telangana or Karnataka, where the party is also comfortably placed to win, is also a signal that the Gandhi family is not abandoning the Hindi-heartland, said the observers. It was being speculated that the members of the Gandhi family will opt for any southern state after recent drubbing in three state assembly elections. 

It has also been suggested that the Congress picked Rajasthan as in numbers Congress is stronger as compared to Madhya Pradesh. 

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Priyanka To Take Over Rae Bareli 

Gandhi, who represented Rae Bareli in Lok Sabha, will not contest the next general elections. She has been a five-term Lok Sabha MP and was first elected in 1999 after taking over as the Congress president.

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As Sonia Gandhi quits Lok Sabha, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is likely to take over the traditional Rae Bareli seat. 

Rajya Sabha Elections on February 27

On Wednesday morning, Congress named four candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in which former party president Sonia Gandhi was nominated from Rajasthan, Akhilesh Prasad Singh from Bihar, Abhishek Manu Singhvi from Himachal Pradesh, Chandrakant Handore from Maharashtra.

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A total of 56 members of Rajya Sabha from 15 states are retiring in April and the election to the seats will be held on February 27. The last date for filing nominations is February 15.

 

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(With PTI inputs) 

 

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Published February 14th, 2024 at 08:39 IST