Ending all speculations about Priyanka Gandhi standing against PM Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Congress has fielded former MLA and local strongman Ajay Rai from that seat. This is Ajay Rai’s second outing from Varanasi, having lost to PM Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
This was announced in the Congress Central Election Committee’s list of candidates for the ensuing elections to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.
Ajay Rai is an old Congress hand even though he began his political career as a member of the BJP’s student wing. He won the legislative assembly elections from the Kolasla constituency three times in a row between 1996 and 2007 on a BJP ticket.
He left the party after being denied a Lok Sabha seat and joined Samajwadi party from where he unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
He joined the Indian National Congress in 2009, after winning the Kolasla by-elections as an independent candidate. In 2012, he won the assembly elections from the Pindra constituency. He, however, lost to PM Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, coming third after Arvind Kejriwal.
Congress Central Election Committee announces the next list of candidates for the ensuing elections to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/zyol8wPd06
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 25, 2019
As of now, he does not retain his assembly seat from Pindra but is an active member of the Congress in the state.
The other nomination from the Congress stables is of Madhusudan Tiwari from Gorakhpur. Right now, the MP from this seat is Praveen Kumar Nishad, who won this seat post by-elections after Yogi Adityanath vacated the seat.