Lok Sabha polls: In Congress' first list, Rahul to contest from Wayanad, Baghel gets Rajnandgaon

The list includes 15 candidates from the general category, and 24 from SC, ST, OBC and minority groups

From left: Congress leaders Pawan Khera, K.C. Venugopal and Ajay Maken at the press meet (photo: AICC)
From left: Congress leaders Pawan Khera, K.C. Venugopal and Ajay Maken at the press meet (photo: AICC)

NH Political Bureau

The Congress has released its first list for 39 Lok Sabha constituencies across Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Sikkim on Friday, marking the commencement of the electoral race for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Among the prominent names, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is set to re-enter the fray from Wayanad in Kerala, a seat he successfully secured in the 2019 elections.

Another notable contender is Shashi Tharoor, who will be vying for victory in Thiruvananthapuram, posing a challenge to the BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Tharoor has held the Thiruvananthapuram seat since 2009.

Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal will contest from Alappuzha. He was elected from Rajasthan for Rajya Sabha in 2020. The party has also decided to field former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel from the Rajnandgaon seat and former minister Tamardwaj Sahu from the Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat.

The comprehensive list encompasses 16 candidates from Kerala, 7 from Karnataka, 6 from Chhattisgarh, 4 from Telangana, and 1 each from Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and Lakshadweep.

In Telangana, the party has fielded Patnam Sunitha Mahender Reddy as the lone female candidate, who will be competing for the Chevella Lok Sabha seat against BJP's Konda Vishveshwar Reddy. K. Raghuveer Reddy, the son of Congress veteran K. Jana Reddy, has secured the ticket for the Nalgonda Lok Sabha constituency.

Notably, this marks the second consecutive ticket for the family, with K. Jaiveer Reddy, another son of Jana Reddy, having contested and triumphed in the Nagarjuna Sagar assembly seat during the 2023 elections.

Former Union minister Porika Balram Naik is slated to contest from the Mahbubabad (ST reserved) constituency, while Suresh Kumar Shetkar will be representing Zahirabad.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Congress headquarters, KC Venugopal stated that there are:

  • 15 candidates from the General category

  • 24 candidates from SC, ST, OBC and minority groups

  • 12 candidates below 50 years of age

  • 8 candidates in the age group 50–60

  • 12 are in the group 61-70

  • 7 candidates in the age group 71-76

The Congress party had Thursday convened a central election committee (CEC) meeting to finalise candidates for 10 states for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Political observers said Congress' list has a combination of both youth and wisdom, experience and energy. Observers noted that the political landscape is poised for a spirited contest as the Congress has fielded heavyweight candidates for the electoral battle in their respective constituencies.

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