Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to retain the Raebareli seat after winning the recent Lok Sabha elections from two constituencies. Party leaders reportedly remain divided on the matter, with a significant number of Congress members urging Gandhi to retain the family bastion of Raebareli. A final announcement is expected before the June 17 deadline.

“This decision has to be taken before June 17 and it will come in 3 to 4 days,” said Congress leader KC Venugopal on Saturday.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951, allows a person to contest a general election or by-elections or biennial elections from a maximum of two constituencies but the candidate can retain only one. There had been no bar on the number of contest-able seats until electoral laws were amended in 1996.

What is the deadline for selection?

Any Lok Sabha candidate who wins from seats will have to give one up within 14 days of the election results. Rahul Gandhi will therefore be compelled to make a selection by June 17 at the latest. Any MP who fails to make a selection faces a chance of losing both seats. 

The decision will also have to be made before the oath-taking ceremony — likely to happen next week.

What are party leaders pitching for Raebareli?

Reports quoting sources indicate that many party leaders remain inclined towards Gandhi assuming the Raebareli seat. The seat holds strategic significance for the party and is considered key to the political revival of Congress in Uttar Pradesh. 

Congress (and Janata Party) leaders have represented the constituency since 1952 — with the exception of two terms won by BJP leader Ashok Singh. It was held by Sonia Gandhi for nearly 20 years before being passed down to her son during the recent elections. Speculative reports had also broached the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi making her electoral debut from Raebareli before her brother was named candidate.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 08 Jun 2024, 07:50 PM IST

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