Rahul Gandhi retains Rae Bareli, Priyanka to contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge announced the decision

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi with brother Rahul Gandhi (File) Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi with brother Rahul Gandhi arrives to cast her vote at a polling booth during the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections | PTI

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday announced that party leader Rahul Gandhi will retain the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat vacating the Wayanad seat. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be contesting from Wayanad seat, he added.

The decision was taken after a series of discussions held within the party involving top leaders including Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and party general secretaries K. C. Venugopal. 

The official announcement came after the meeting held on Monday involving Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka along with the other senior leaders of the party. Reportedly, the meeting also discussed whether Rahul would take up the post of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. 

While speaking to the reporters, Kharge said "Rahul Gandhi won two Lok Saba seats but as per the law, he has to vacate one. Rahul Gandhi will retain Rae Bareli and we have decided that Priyanka ji will fight from Wayanad." 

Reacting to the decision, Rahul said that both Rae Bareli and Wayanad "will get two MPs". While Priyanka said, " I'm not nervous at all...I am very happy to be able to represent Wayanad...I won't let the people of Wayanad feel Rahul's absence...I have a good relation with Rae Bareli as I have worked there for 20 years and that relation will never break," Priyanka said after her candidature was announced.

Rahul said that it was a difficult decision for him as he has an emotional connection with both Rae Bareli and Wayanad. "The last five years as a member of Parliament from Wayanad have been a very fantastic and enjoyable experience. The people of Wayanad gave me support, energy to fight in a very difficult time. I will never forget that...I will continue to visit Wayanad and the promises we made to Wayanad will be fulfilled," he said.

Since Rahul won both the Wayanad and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats, he had to vacate one of the seats within 14 days of the Lok Sabha results, which came out on June 4. 

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has urged Rahul to take up the position of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and a resolution to this effect was passed by the CWC in its last meeting held on June 8. Venugopal had said that the CWC urged Rahul Gandhi to take up the position as "he is the best person" for the post.

(With PTI inputs)

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