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Lok Sabha polls: First list of Congress candidates out, Sonia Gandhi to contest from Rae Bareli; Rahul from Amethi

File photo of Congressman chairman Sonia Gandhi (L) and party president Rahul Gandhi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 08, 2019, 06.40 AM (IST)

Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party on Thursday released its first official list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will contest the election from Rae Bareli, while Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi.

The list of 15 candidates includes 11 from Uttar Pradesh and 4 from Gujarat.

The list, however, does not name Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who was named the party's General Secretary for UP East and made her political debut earlier this year. 

Former Union ministers Salman Khursheed, RPN Singh and Jitin Prasad will be contesting from Farrukhabad, Kushi Nagar and Dhaurahra in Uttar Pradesh respectively.

Imran Masood will contest from Saharanpur (UP), Saleem Iqbal Shervani from Badaun(UP), Annu Tandon from Unnao (UP), Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur (UP), Brij Lal Khabri from Jalaun - SC (UP), Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad (UP).

While Raju Parmar will contest from Ahmedabad West - SC (Gujarat), Bharat Sinh M Solanki from Anand (Gujarat), Prashant Patel from Vadodara (Gujarat) and Ranjit MohanSinh Rathwa from Chhota Udaipur - ST (Gujarat). Lok Sabha elections are due by May end.

The Election Commission is expected to announce its schedule for the high-voltage Lok Sabha elections soon. The polls are likely to be spread over 7-8 phases in April-May, news agency PTI reported. 

Sources said the poll panel is in final stages of completing its logistical preparations to hold elections for the 17th Lok Sabha and a detailed polling schedule could be announced as early this weekend or by early next week.

The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.

The announcement of dates for the elections, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his bid to return to power amid hectic parleys by several political parties to put a united fight against the ruling BJP, would be followed by a meeting of election observers next week for the first and second phase of polling.

A senior Election Commission functionary said the poll panel is now prepared to announce the dates "any day" and it could happen over the weekend or at most by Tuesday, PTI reported. 

Notification for the first phase could be issued by the end of March for voting sometime in early April, sources suggested.

(With inputs from news agencies)