Lok Sabha Election 2019: Rahul Gandhi, Karti Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh, Shashi Tharoor among key Congress candidates
Congress veteran Sonia Gandhi has returned from her rumoured retirement to fight the election from the Gandhi family's traditional constituency of Rae Bareli.
The Indian National Congress has announced candidates for a large number of seats ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
Among the key candidates are Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Karti Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh
Sonia Gandhi has returned from her rumoured retirement to fight the election from the Gandhi family's traditional constituency of Rae Bareli.
Since 7 March, the Congress party has released the names of over 400 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While in most of the states, Congress will be in a direct contest with the BJP, it has entered into a pre-poll alliance in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar and Jharkhand. Some high-profile names that have been released so far include that of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, party matriarch Sonia Gandhi, Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge, Mumbai Congress stalwart Milind Deora, Gujarat strongman Bharatsinh Solanki, Odisha veteran KP Singh Deo, among others.
The 2019 elections will also see some newcomers entering the electoral fray. Some of them include Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, actress Urmila Matondkar, who will be contesting from Mumbai North, and journalist-turned-politician Supriya Srinate, who will contest from Maharajganj.
Here are the profiles of some key candidates of the grand old party:
Rae Bareli: Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi has been elected as an MP for four consecutive terms from the constituency that has primarily been a Congress turf. In 2014, when the nation was swept by the ‘Modi wave’, Gandhi defeated the BJP’s Ajai Agarwal by a margin of over 3 lakh votes. The 72-year-old veteran, with Italian origin, has kept a low profile over the past two years, handing the reins of the grand old party to son Rahul. She is the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance and has served as the Congress chief for over two decades.
Amethi: Rahul Gandhi
The son of Congress veterans Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, Rahul is the current MP from Amethi. In 2014, Rahul defeated BJP’s star candidate Smriti Irani by 1.07 lakh votes. The constituency is a Congress bastion and was earlier represented by father Rajiv. Rahul assumed charge as the president of the Congress party in 2017 and is shouldering the responsibility of bringing regional parties together for a ‘mahagathbandhan’ alliance against the ruling BJP. Rahul has successfully represented the constituency since the 2004 elections and is up against Union minister Irani yet again.
Fatehpur Sikri: Raj Babbar
Former Bollywood actor Raj Babbar is a four-time member of Parliament and two-time member of Rajya Sabha. The actor, who entered politics by joining Janata Dal, has hopped parties at least twice. He defected from the Janata Dal to Samajwadi Party in the early nineties. In 2006, after being suspended from the Samajwadi Party, Babbar joined the Congress. In the 2014 elections, he contested from the Ghaziabad seat but lost to BJP candidate VK Singh. Babbar is currently the Uttar Pradesh chief of the Congress.
Etawah: Ashok Doharey
The sitting MP from Etawah will fight the upcoming elections on a Congress ticket. He came into the limelight in 2018 when he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining against the rising atrocities against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh. Doharey was also a cabinet minister in the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government between 2007 and 2011.
Maharajganj: Supriya Shrinate
The TV media veteran has been issued the ticket to fight from Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituency. Though this is Shrinate’s first foray into electoral politics, she is no stranger to politics. Her late father Harsh Vardhan represented Maharajganj in the 9th and 15th Lok Sabha. Prior to joining politics, Shrinate was the executive editor of ET Now and a prominent news anchor.
Sultanpur: Sanjay Singh
The Congress strongman will seek his third term in the Lok Sabha from Sultanpur. The Raja of Amethi is presently serving his Rajya Sabha term from Assam. He previously served as MP from Sultanpur in the 15th Lok Sabha. In the 1998 elections, he defeated sitting MP Satish Sharma in Amethi on a BJP ticket.
Kanpur: Sriprakash Jaiswal
Senior Congress leader Sriprakash Jaiswal will contest from Kanpur for the sixth time in his political career. He represented the constituency 1between 1999 and 2014. He lost the 2014 elections to BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi. In the UPA government, Jaiswal first became MoS Home Affairs before gaining the independent charge of the coal ministry.
Bahraich: Savitri Bai Phule
Sitting MP Savitri Bai Phule will be fighting from Bahraich on a Congress ticket in the upcoming elections. In 2014, Phule fought as BJP candidate and defeated Samajwadi Party’s Shabbir Ahmed by a margin of over 95,000 votes. However, she quit the saffron party in December 2018 claiming that it is playing divisive politics.
Dhaurahra: Jitin Prasada
Jitin Prasada, son of late Congress leader Jitendra Prasada, will take on the BJP and Mahaghatbandhan in Dhaurahra. He previously won from this constituency in 2009 when it was newly created after delimitation. In the 2004 elections, Prasada won from his hometown Shahjahanpur. Prasada served as a Minister of State between 2009 and 2014, handling various ministries like Oil and Gas, HRD and Transport.
Kushinagar: RPN Singh
RPN Singh, the scion of the Padrauna royal family, will be contesting from his traditional bastion of Kushinagar. He previously won the seat in 2009 polls but lost it in the “Modi Wave” of 2014. Singh also served as MoS in the UPA government. He currently is the AICC in-charge of Jharkhand.
Lucknow: Acharya Pramod Krishnam
Spiritual guru Acharya Pramod Krishnam will contest from Lucknow on a Congress ticket. The 54-year-old founded the Shri Kalki Foundation in Sambhal and is also the Peethadhishwar of the Kalki Dham. He joined the Congress in 2014 and fought from Sambhal in the subsequent elections but lost.
Nainital: Harish Rawat
Harish Rawat is a senior Congress politician who has also served as the chief minister of Uttarakhand. In the UPA 2 regime, Rawat was the Union minister for water resources. Rawat, who is a five-time Member of Parliament, has never represented Nainital before. He has represented his home constituency Almora four times and Haridwar once.
Garhwal: Manish Khanduri
Manish Khanduri, who joined the Congress early this year, is up for a tough task. He has to woo a constituency that has been loyal to his father and BJP veteran BC Khanduri. To make matters worse, he is up against the BJP's national secretary Tirath Singh Rawat.
West Tripura: Subal Bhowmick
The former state vice-president of the BJP quit the saffron party ahead of the polls and joined the Congress. A former Congress MLA, Bhowmick floated his own party, the Tripura Pragatisheel Grameen Congress, in 2013. He then proceeded to join the BJP before making a comeback to the Congress in March this year.
Jangipur: Abhijit Mukherjee
Son of former president and Congress heavyweight Pranab Mukherjee, Abhijit has been the MP from this constituency since 2012. Abhijit won the bypolls when father Pranab resigned as MP to become the president of the country. Abhijit was re-elected in the 2014 polls. A mechanical engineer from Jadavpur University, Abhijit will seek to win his third term.
Baharampur: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is the former president of the West Bengal Congress. He has been the MP from the Baharampur constituency since 1999. In the UPA 2 government, Adhir was rewarded by the party high command when he was made the Minister of State for Railways.
Puducherry: V Vaithilingam
The senior Congress leader is the speaker of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly. Vaithilingam has also served as the chief minister of the Puducherry state and is a six-time legislator from Nettapakkam and Kamarajar Nagar constituencies.
Patiala: Preneet Kaur
Three-time MP and former MoS External Affairs Preneet Kaur will contest from her traditional bastion of Patiala. Kaur, who is also the titular Maharani of Patiala, lost the 2014 elections to AAP's Dharamvir Gandhi. Under UPA II, Kaur served as Minister of State for External Affairs. In August 2014, she won the Patiala Urban Assembly seat and replaced her husband, incumbent Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who had entered Parliament.
Gurdaspur: Sunil Jakhar
Senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar will seek re-election from Gurdaspur, which he won in a by-election in April 2017. The by-election was necessitated following the death of the sitting MP actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna. Jakhar is the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and has served three terms in the Punjab Assembly representing Abohar. He was also the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly between 2012 and 2017. Notably, Jakhar is the son of former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar.
Ludhiana: Ravneet Singh Bittu
Sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu will look to retain his seat in the upcoming elections. Bittu won the 2014 elections by defeating AAP candidate HS Phoola by a margin of just 19,000 votes. He previously represented Anandpur Sahib in the 15th Lok Sabha. Bittu, the young face of Punjab Congress, is the grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh.
Chandigarh: Pawan Kumar Bansal
Congress veteran Pawan Kumar Bansal will seek to re-enter the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh. Bansal, who served as India's railway minister between 2012 and 2013, was previously elected from the same constituency to the 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha. However, he lost the 2014 elections to BJP's Kirron Kher. Apart from railways, Bansal has also held the portfolios of parliamentary affairs and water resources.
Manish Tewari – Anandpur Sahib
Former Union MoS Manish Tewari will be contesting from Anandpur Sahib. This will be Tewari’s first electoral contest after he opted out of the 2014 elections. In the 2009 elections, he won from Ludhiana and was inducted into the Manmohan Singh-led Council of Ministers. Tewari began his career as a student leader, having been the president of NSUI between 1988 and 1993. He also went on to become the president of Indian Youth Congress.
Sher Singh Ghubaya – Ferozepur
Sher Singh Ghubaya is the sitting MP from Ferozepur. He was first elected from this constituency on an Akali Dal ticket in 2009. He retained his seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, defeating Congress leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar by a margin of over 31,000 votes. However, he left the Akali Dal in March this year and joined the Congress.
Thiruvananthapuram: Shashi Tharoor
The 63-year-old Congress leader is the incumbent MP from the constituency. Shashi Tharoor has held the seat since 2009 and this is his third election from here. The author of the book, Why I am a Hindu, Tharoor has been vocal against right-wing politics and Hindutva ideologies, as a result, often courting controversies. He is accused and is under investigation in a case related to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Tharoor has served as minister of state for external affairs and human resource development in the past. He will have to fight the anti-incumbency sentiment and is up against the BJP heavyweight Kummanam Rajasekharan.
Kozhikode: MK Raghavan
MK Raghavan is the incumbent MP from the Kozhikode constituency. He has represented the constituency twice -- once in 2009 and then in 2014. Having served as the general secretary of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, the 66-year-old is a favourite in the constituency. He has been credited for bringing in funds for various projects.
Vadakara: K Murlaeedharan
K Muraleedharan, son of late Congress stalwart K Karunakaran, has been nominated as the candidate for Vadakara. He is the sitting MLA from Vattiyoorkavu Assembly constituency. Muraleedharan previously represented Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency in the 9th, 10th and 13th Lok Sabha. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Muraleedharan contested from Wayanad constituency as an NCP candidate but came fourth.
Kishanganj: Mohammad Javed
Current Kishanganj MLA, Javed was elected as the Congress national secretary in 2018. In the 2015 Assembly elections, Javed had defeated his closest rival, BJP leader Sweety Singh, with 38,867 votes to win the Kishanganj Vidhan Sabha seat. His assets are reportedly worth around Rs 7.85 crore as per the affidavit he had filed in 2015.
Katihar: Tariq Anwar
A senior Congress leader, Anwar was the Union Minister of State for agriculture and food processing between 2012 and 2014. A five-time Lok Sabha MP from Katihar, he had joined the Congress in 1972. In May 1999, Anwar, along with party members Sharad Pawar and PA Sangma had rebelled against the party's decision to field Sonia Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate ahead of the general elections and questioned her ability to rule the country in an open letter. Subsequently expelled from the party, the three leaders went on to form the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Anwar, however, resigned from NCP in September 2018 and rejoined the Congress in October that year.
Purnia: Uday Singh alias Pappu Singh
A former BJP MP from Bihar’s Purnia Lok Sabha seat, Uday joined the Congress in 2019. He has represented Purnia twice in the Lok Sabha. Quitting the saffron party, he had said that he saw Rahul's popularity grew even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of whom he has been an ardent supporter, seemed to have withdrawn himself from reality. He also said that even as a BJP member he never approved of the slogan “Congress-mukt Bharat”. Singh had lost his seat to JD(U)’s Santosh Kushwaha in 2014 by a margin of more than 1 lakh votes.
Patna Sahib: Shatrughan Sinha
Actor-turned-politician and rebel BJP MP from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, Sinha joined the Congress recently. The speculations come soon after the saffron party dropped him from the list of candidates released last week. Born in Patna, he first won the Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2014 as a BJP member. He, however, fell out with the party after the Bihar Assembly election in 2015. Ever since he has been a strong critic of the BJP on several issues.
Munger: Neelam Devi
Neelam Devi, who has been trying to get a Congress ticket from Munger, is the wife of don-turned-politician and Mokama MLA Anant Singh. A three-time MLA, Singh was elected twice from Mokama Assembly seat on a JD(U) ticket before differences between him and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came up. Singh is currently facing 18 criminal cases.
Sasaram: Meira Kumar
The former Lok Sabha speaker will contest against Chhedi Paswan of BJP in the upcoming elections. In the 2014 elections, Kumar lost to Paswan by a margin of 63,000 votes. The former IFS officer has represented Sasaram between 2004 and 2014. Prior to becoming the Lok Sabha speaker, Kumar was a cabinet minister in the first Manmohan Singh cabinet. It is to be noted that she is the daughter of Congress stalwart Jagjivan Ram.
Supaul: Ranjeet Ranjan
Ranjeet Ranjan will be fighting her third consecutive election from Supaul. She is currently the sitting MP from Supaul, having the survived the Modi wave in 2014. She is the husband of controversial MP Pappu Yadav, who represents Madhepura in the Lok Sabha. Ranjan previously won from the now-defunct Saharsa constituency as a LJP candidate.
Anand: Bharatsinh Solanki
Solanki, who recently quit as president of the Gujarat Congress unit, has won the Anand Lok Sabha seat twice in 2004 and 2009, before losing to BJP’s Dilipbhai Patel in 2014. He served as the Union Minister of State for Power in 2009, railways in 2011 and drinking water and sanitation in 2012.
Ahmedabad West: Raju Parmar
Parmar has been chosen to contest from Ahmedabad West, a seat reserved for Scheduled Caste. Parmar was a Rajya Sabha member from 1988 to 2006, serving for three terms. He has held several portfolios as Member of Parliament. He has served as a member of the National Commission for Schedule Caste under the UPA government.
Bardoli: Tushar Choudhary
Tribal leader Tushar Choudhary will be fighting his third straight election from Bardoli. Choudhary served as Member of Parliament from Bardoli in the 15th Lok Sabha. He also served as a Minister of State in the Manmohan Singh government, handling the portfolios of Tribal Affairs, and Road Transport and Highways. The Congress leader, who is the son of former Gujarat chief minister Amarsinh Choudhary, represented Mandvi Lok Sabha constituency in the 14th Lok Sabha.
Porbandar: Lalit Vasoya
A close aide of Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Vasoya is currently the sitting MLA from Dhoraji in Rajkot district. He is also the convenor of PAAS (Patidar Arakshan Andolan Samiti) in Saurashtra region. In August 2018, Visoya was detained along with other Congress leaders who were proceeding to take 'jal samadhi' (suicide by drowning) in Bhadar river to protest against the textile dyeing units polluting it with untreated effluents.
Sonepat: Bhupinder Singh Hooda
A senior leader of the grand old party, Hooda has served as Haryana chief minister between 2005 and 2014. He was also elected as a Lok Sabha MP four times – in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2004 – from the Rohtak parliamentary constituency. In 2012, in a bid to encourage youngsters to take up Olympic sports, he had announced a cash reward of Rs 2.5 crore for any state athlete who managed to win a gold medal at the London Olympics. In 2018, the CBI named Hooda as the “main conspirator” in its chargesheet in the alleged Rs 1,000 crore Manesar land scam.
Rohtak: Deepender Singh Hooda
Bhupinder Singh Hooda's son, Deepender is a three-time MP from the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat. He was the youngest MP to make a debut in the Lok Sabha in 2005. In 2014, he had declared his assets to be worth over Rs 35 crore.
Ambala: Kumari Selja
Selja is a four-time Lok Sabha MP (1991, 1996, 2004 and 2009) who has contested the General Elections from Sirsa and Ambala constituencies. In the UPA 2 regime, the Dalit MP served as the cabinet minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation and culture, tourism and social justice and empowerment. She is currently a Rajya Sabha MP. Her appointment as chairperson of the Congress screening committee for the Rajasthan Assembly elections in 2018 was seen as the Opposition's decision to attract Dalits.
Sirsa: Ashok Tanwar
Ashok Tanwar will once again be contesting from Sirsa Lok Sabha constituency, which he previously won in the 2009 elections. He is the incumbent president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee. In 2005, he became the youngest president of the Indian Youth Congress.
Gurgaon: Ajay Singh Yadav
Senior Congress leader Ajay Singh Yadav will contest against Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh in Gurgaon. Yadav, a former army officer, has been a minister in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda Cabinet. He has also served as an MLA from Rewari between 1991 and 2014, before losing to BJP’s Randhir Singh Kapriwas in the 2014 Assembly elections.
Faridabad: Avatar Singh Bhadana
Avatar Singh Bhadana will once again contest from Faridabad. He previously represented the same constituency in the 10th,14th and 15th Lok Sabha. He also represented Mathura in the 13th Lok Sabha. In the 2014 elections, he lost to BJP’s Krishan Pal Gujjar by over 4.1 Lakh votes. He left Congress in 2014 and joined the INLD before moving to BJP in 2016. He became a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 2017. However, he resigned in 2018 and re-joined Congress.
Mandi: Aashray Sharma
Aashray Sharma, 33, will be making his electoral debut from Mandi. Sharma, grandson of former telecom minister Sukh Ram, will take on sitting BJP MP Ramswaroop Sharma. Sharma along with Sukh Ram had re-joined Congress on 25 March. It is to be noted that his father Anil Sharma is the power minister in the Jairam Thakur-led BJP government.
Karimganj (SC): Swarup Das
The Congress party has nominated Swarup Das as its candidate in Karimganj. Das hails from Katlicherra, which is considered the stronghold of former Assam minister Gautam Roy. Situated in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, Karimganj is reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates. Over 50 percent of the population in the constituency is Muslim. Meanwhile, Anusuchit Jati Mahasabha, Central Committee, Assam has alleged Das forged his caste certificate following which a magisterial inquiry was instituted.
Silchar: Sushmita Dev
President of All India Mahila Congress, Dev will be seeking her second straight term from Silichar. In the 2014 elections, Dev beat BJP’s sitting MP Kabindra Purkhayastha by a margin of 35,000 votes. In the upcoming elections, Dev will face-off with BJP’s Rajdeep Roy Bengali. Prior to entering the Parliament, Dev was representing Silchar in the Assam Legislative Assembly.
Kaliabor: Gaurav Gogoi
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi will be fighting his second election from Kaliabor. In the last election, Gogoi defeated Mrinal Kumar Saikia by a margin of 93,874 votes. In the 11 April election, Gogoi will fight Asom Gana Parishad’s Moni Madhab Mahanta. Son of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, he holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University.
Dibrugarh: Paban Singh Ghatowar
Former Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar will contest elections from Dibrugarh constituency. In the 2014 election, Ghatowar lost to BJP’s Rameshwar Teli by a margin of over 1.8 Lakh votes. In the 11 April election, Ghatowar will once again contest against Teli. Ghatowar has represented Dibrugarh five times between 1991 and 2014.
Tezpur: MGVK Bhanu
Retired bureaucrat MGVK Bhanu will be fighting his first Lok Sabha election from Tezpur. Bhanu, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, served as the additional chief secretary of Assam before retiring in July last year. He has also served as the chairman of Tea Board of India. According to reports, he has worked closely with former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi as well as late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy.
Nowgong: Pradyut Bordoloi
The senior Congress leader will be contesting from Nowgong against BJP’s Rupak Sarmah, who comes in place of Union minister Rajen Gohain. Bordoloi represented Margherita Assembly constituency for four terms between 1998, when he won a bypoll, and 2016, when he finally lost his seat in the state elections. Bordoloi has also served as a minister in the Tarun Gogoi government, handling diverse portfolios.
Gauhati: Bobeeta Sharma
The 52-year-old actor, director and producer will contest against BJP's Queen Ojha. Sharma had also contested the 2016 Assembly elections from Gauhati East but lost to Siddhartha Bhattacharya of the BJP. Sharma has been acitve in state politics since 2002, when she was made a spokesperson of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee. She also served as the chairperson of the Assam State Film Finance and Development Corporation from 2005 to 2016.
Bidar: Eshwar Khandre
The working president of the Karnataka Congress Committee, Khandre will be fighting against BJP’s sitting MP Bhagwant Khuba. Khandre is the sitting MLA from Bhalki, having won the seat thrice in a row since the 2008 elections. He also served as a minister in the Siddaramaiah government between 2016 and 2018 handling the portfolios of municipal administration and public enterprises.
Mysore: CH Vijayashankar
CH Vijayashankar will be contesting from Mysore for the fifth time in his political career. Vijayashankar, who switched over to the Congress in 2017, won the Mysore Lok Sabha seat in 1998 and 2004 elections. However, in the 1999 elections, he lost to Mysore’s titular Maharaja Shrikanta Wadeyar. A decade later, he lost to Congress candidate AH Vishwanath. Vijayashankar has also served as forest minister in the BJP-led Karnataka government for less than a year between 2010 and 2011.
Gulbarga: Mallikarjun Kharge
The leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha will be fighting for his third consecutive term from Gulbarga. The former Union minister will take on Umesh Jadhav, who until recently was associated with the Congress party. A seasoned Congressman, Kharge was elected to nine consecutive terms in the state Assembly between 1972 and 2008.
Davangere: HB Manjappa
District Congress president HB Manjappa will contest against sitting BJP MP GM Siddeshwara in Davanagere. A former Zilla Parishad member, Manjappa's candidature for the ticket were being speculated since the last few days. Earlier, veteran Congressman Shamanur Shivashankarappa declined to contest the Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket.
Kolar: KH Muniyappa
KH Muniyappa will be contesting from his pocket borough of Kolar in the upcoming elections. One of the senior-most members of the Parliament, Muniyappa is serving his seventh consecutive term in the Lok Sabha. During the UPA regime, Muniyappa held a number of portfolios, including shipping, roadways, railways, and MSMEs.
Chikaballapur: M Veerappa Moily
Former Union minister Veerappa Moily will be seeking re-election from Chikaballapur, which he won in 2014 by a margin just over 9,000 votes. He will once again be taking on Bache Gowda of the BJP. A Congress veteran, Moily was the chief minister of Karnataka between 1992 and 1994. Moily also held the portfolios of law and justice, petroleum and natural gas, corporate affairs, and environment and forests in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.
Bangalore North: Krishna Byre Gowda
Krishna Byre Gowda, a high-profile Congress leader, will contest from Bangalore North constituency. He is currently the Minister of Rural Development, Law and Parliamentary Affairs in the HD Kumaraswamy government. He has been a MLA since 2003, when he fought a bye-election to replace his father C Byre Gowda, a senior JDU leader died. He has a master's degree from American University, Washington DC.
Bhopal: Digvijaya Singh
Digvijaya Singh is a two-time Member of Parliament from Rajgarh constituency. He was the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh between 1993 and 2003. Incidentally, 2003 was also when Singh had last contested an election. He will return to the electoral battle this year by representing Bhopal, albeit reluctantly. He had been eyeing the Rajgarh seat, his home turf, but had to accept the decision of the party high command. Singh is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha from the state. Recently, Singh was in the news for having undertaken the Narmada Parikrama, a 3,300-km circumambulation of the river.
Mandsour: Meenakshi Natarajan
Considered one of the leading young turks of the party, Meenakshi Natarajan was selected as a "consensus candidate" through a party primary in 2009. She went on to defeat a long time sitting BJP MP Laxminarayan Pandey by a margin of over 30,000 votes. However, she lost the 2014 elections to BJP's Sudhir Gupta by a margin of over 3 Lakh votes.
Ratlam: Kantilal Bhuria
Kantilal Bhuria is the sitting MP from Ratlam, after having wrested the seat from the BJP in the 2015 by-polls. He previously represented the constituency between 1998 and 2014. He lost the 2014 elections to BJP's Dileep Singh Bhuria. The veteran Congressman also served as a Cabinet minister in the UPA 2 government.
Guna: Jyotiraditya Scindia
The titular Maharaja of Gwalior will be contesting from his traditional bastion of Guna for the fifth consecutive time. He won the seat for the first time in the 2002 by-poll which was necessitated due to his father Madhavrao Scindia’s untimely death. He has also served as a minister in the Manmohan Singh government, holding the independent charge of power ministry. He is currently in-charge of Congress party’s organisation in Western Uttar Pradesh.
Chhindwara: Nakul Nath
The son of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Nakul Nath will contest from Chhindwara. The constituency has become synonymous with the chief minister, who is representing the seat since 1980 – barring a 21 months interregnum in the mid-1990s. Nath, who holds an MBA from Boston University, is often seen accompanying his father in Chhindwara.
Gwalior: Ashok Singh
Ashok Singh, a three-time party nominee, will once again contest from Gwalior. In 2014 elections, he lost Gwalior to Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar by a narrow margin of 29,000 votes. Singh is also considered a long-time ally of former chief minister Digvijaya Singh.
Sidhi: Ajay Singh
Ajay Singh will contest elections from Sidhi. Sinwgh, who is the son of former Union Minister Arjun Singh, lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Satna. A veteran Congressman, Singh has represented his traditional bastion of Churhat multiple times. He was also the Leader of Opposition in the previous Assembly in Madhya Pradesh. It is to be noted that he is the son of former Union Minister Arjun Singh.
Sivaganga: Karti Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress veteran and former finance minister P Chidambaram will contest from Sivaganga. Karti had fought the elections in 2014 from the same constituency and lost. Karti is currently being investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate in alleged graft cases such as the Aircel-Maxis case and the Sequoia Capital case. Last year, Karti was arrested by the CBI in a money laundering case and later that year, the ED attached assets worth over Rs 50 crore in India, Spain and the UK in the INX Media money laundering case.
Tirucharapalli: S Thirunavakarasar
S Thirunavakarasar will be contesting from Tirucharapalli in the upcoming elections. With over four decades of experience, Thirunavakarasar is a veteran of Tamil Nadu politics. He began his career with the AIADMK. He served as a minister in the MGR cabinet till 1987. He then left AIADMK and contested the Lok Sabha elections from Pudukottai in 1999. After winning the seat, he joined the Vajpayee government as a Union minister. He left the BJP in 2009 to join the Congress, which made the state unit head in 2017.
Theni: EVKS Elangovan
EVKS Elangovan, the former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, will fight elections from Theni. Elangovan is the grandson of EV Ramaswamy Naicker ‘Periyar’, the father of the Dravidian movement. The senior Congress leader previously served as a MoS Textiles in the Manmohan Singh Council of Ministers.
Virudhunagar: Manick Tagore
A young face of Tamil Nadu Congress, Manick Tagore will fight his third election from Virudhunagar. He previously represented the constituency between 2009 and 2014. However, in the last elections, he came fourth. Tagore began his political career in NSUI before entering the Youth Congress, which made him the general secretary.
Kanyakumari: H Vasanthkumar
H Vasanthkumar is a prominent businessman in Tamil Nadu, well known for his consumer durables franchise Vasanth & Co. He is also the sitting MLA from Nanguneri. As per his 2016 affidavit, Vasanthkumar owned assets worth over 300 crores. The industrialist-politician has also fought Lok Sabha elections in the past but remained unsuccessful.
Mumbai North: Urmila Matondkar
The Bollywood actress who has acted in blockbuster films like Rangeela, Bhoot, Satya, Judai and many more will take on sitting MP Gopal Shetty. For the second time in 15 years, Congress is banking on star power to romp home in Mumbai North. In 2004, actor Govinda defeated veteran BJP leader Ram Naik in this constituency.
Mumbai North West: Sanjay Nirupam
The former Mumbai Congress president will be fighting for the third time from Mumbai North West constituency which he represented between 2009 and 2014. Previously with the Shiv Sena, Nirupam joined the Congress in 2005. Originally from Bihar, Nirupam served two terms in the Rajya Sabha representing Maharashtra.
Mumbai North-Central: Priya Dutt
Priya Dutt, daughter of late actor and politician Sunil Dutt, had announced earlier that she would not contest elections this year, but obliged when the party high command asked her to enter the poll fray. Having won the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat in 2005 (in a by-election) and the Mumbai North Central seat in 2009, Priya lost to BJP candidate Poonam Mahajan in 2014. After her massive defeat that year, she had become elusive and had barely participated in party events. In October last year, she was removed from the post of secretary of the All India Congress Committee.
Mumbai South: Milind Deora
Son of Congress veteran Murli Deora, Milind Deora succeeded Sanjay Nirupam as the Mumbai Congress chief. Deora had won the Mumbai South seat 2004 and 2009, but fell to the BJP’s Arvind Sawant in 2014. Deora has served as the Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology and Shipping. He has already started meeting people from his constituency and is particularly intent on taking up issues of project-affected people due to the Coastal Road project, as well as those of tenants of the Mumbai Post Trust area.
Solapur (SC): Sushil Kumar Shinde
The Congress veteran from Solapur has served as the chief minister of Maharashtra between 2003 and 2004 and replaced Pranab Mukherjee in 2006 as the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. He has also served as the Union minister for home and power. Shinde was recently in the limelight for claiming that the BJP had tried to poach him. Shinde has been elected from Solapur thrice.
Wardha: Charulata Khajasingh Tokas
Tokas is the president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Mahila Congress. She is the daughter of party veteran Prabha Rau. Charulata’s mother had been elected Member of Parliament from this constituency in 1999.
Mumbai South Central: Eknath Gaikwad
The Congress veteran has been elected as a member of Parliament twice -- in 2004 and 2009. A prominent Dalit leader, Gaikwad is strategically contesting opposite incumbent Rahul Shewale of the BJP, who is also a Dalit leader. The grand old party aims to gain Dalit votes, especially in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
Nanded: Ashok Chavan
Ashok Chavan, who served as Maharashtra chief minister between 2008 and 2010, has been re-nominated to contest from Nanded, which he won by a comfortable margin in 2014. Chavan is also the Maharashtra Congress president since 2015. However, he has been criticised for not being able to stop infighting within the party ranks. Chavan, the son of former Union Home Minister SB Chavan, has also held seneior posiitons in the Vilasrao Deshmukh-led government between 1999 and 2008.
Hingoli: Subhash Wankhede
The former Shiv Sena MP, who recently switched over to the Congress, will be contesting in place of incumbent MP Rajeev Satav. Wankhede represented Hingoli in the 15th Lok Sabha as a member of Shiv Sena. He has also served as an MLA for three terms between 1995 and 2009.
Yavatmal-Washim: Manikrao Thakre
Senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakre will contest elections from Yavatmal-Washim. An prominent figure in state politics, Thakre held several portfolio in state governments in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is currently a MLC but has been a member of the Legislature between 1985 and 2004.
Nagpur: Nana Patole
BJP turncout Nana Patole will contest against Union minister Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur. Elected from Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency in 2014, Patole resigned from the BJP in 2017 blaming BJP for farmer crisis. He previously served an MLA for three terms between 1999 and 2014.
Inner Manipur: O Nabakishore Singh
The Congress party has decided to ditch incumbent Thokchom Meinya and pitch former IAS officer O Nabakishore Singh from this constituency. Nabakishore has served as the chief secretary of the state and courted controversy last year when chief minister N Biren Singh removed him from his position and moved him to a less important one. Nabakishore applied for retirement the very next day. Hailing from the Bishnupur district in Manipur, he belongs to the Meitei community, an important ethnic community from the state. He is also the first person from the community to become the chief secretary of the state.
Outer Manipur: K James
A government employee-turned-entrepreneur, K James was chosen over incumbent Thangso Baite by the party. Baite has held the seat, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribes, since 2004. James will have the responsibility to make sure the seat stays with the Congress, especially after BJP swept the Assembly polls two years ago.
Tura: Mukul Sangma
The former chief minister is currently the Leader of Opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly. He is also a member of the Legislative Assembly from the Songsak Assembly constituency. Mukul first became the chief minister in 2010 and returned for a second term in 2013. It was during his tenure as chief minister that the National Green Tribunal banned coal mining in the state in 2014. While the NGT order affected people financially dependent on mining, Mukul did not challenge the ruling. This has turned into an issue that the current chief minister and National People’s Party leader Conrad Sangma has raised against Mukul ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Shillong: Vincent H Pala
Vincent Pala is the incumbent member of Parliament from the Shillong constituency. A former public servant, Pala hails from the East Jaintia Hills of the state. This will be his third term from the constituency. Pala has been a firm critic of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. An engineer by vocation, Pala is also a businessman and owns coal mines in the state.
Ranchi: Subodh Kant Sahay
Former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay will contest elections from Ranchi. He previously Ranchi in the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha. Starting his political career from the Bihar Legislative Assembly where he served three terms between 1978 and 1989. He rose to prominence in 1989, when he was inducted in the Union Council of Ministers by then prime minister VP Singh. He served as MoS Home Affairs under Singh and later became the junior minister for Information and Broadcasting under Chandra Shekhar. In the UPA government, Sahay held portfolios like Food Processing Industries and Tourism.
Dhanbad: Kirti Azad
Former cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad will contest from Dhanbad in Jharkhand. He was previously elected to the 13th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha from Bihar’s Darbhanga. Azad joined the Congress this year after being critical of the BJP for many years. He is the son of former Bihar chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad, who was a veteran Congressman. Apart from politics, Azad is known for being an integral part of the 1983 World Cup winning team.
Nagaland: KL Chishi
A former chief minister of Nagaland, KL Chishi recently defected from BJP to Congress after being defeated in the Assembly elections in 2018 on a BJP ticket. He had also floated his own party — the Nationalist Democratic Movement. He was the chief minister of the state for less than a month.
Sundargarh(ST): George Tirkey
A four-time Member of the Legislative Assembly, George Tirkey joined the Congress early this year. He has fought state elections on a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha ticket and later as an independent. With Tirkey’s candidature, the Congress may be able to woo the tribal and Christian population in Sundargarh.
Kalahandi: Bhakta Charan Das
Bhakta Charan Das has represented the Kalahandi constituency in 2009 and was the Deputy Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs at the Centre. He later became a Union Minister of State for Railways. Das is also known for his environmental activism and for raising issues faced by farmers.
Nabarangpur (ST): Pradeep Majhi
This 43-year-old politician was an MP from Nabrangpur in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Majhi had held sway on the rice bowl of the state once and wishes to win his constituents back. Amid a slump in the procurement of paddy, farmers recently agitated against the government. Majhi will have to gain the confidence of the farmers.
Bolangir: Samarendra Mishra
Samarendra Mishra is the son of the leader of Opposition and Bolangir MLA Narasingha Mishra. He is up against incumbent Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of the BJD. Once a Congress bastion, the constituency went to Deo in 2009.
Dhenkanal: KP Singh Deo
Veteran Congress leader KP Singh Deo is entering the poll fray afer 15 years. He will be taking on the yet-to-be-named BJD candidate in Dhenkanal. Singh Deo has been elected six times from Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency. He has also served as minister of state in the Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao Council of Ministers.
Jodhpur: Vaibhav Gehlot
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav will contest the elections from the Jodhpur constituency, which was once a Congress bastion. The seat is currently held by BJP MP Gajendra Shekhawat. Vaibhav is the general secretary of the state Congress committee, but this is his electoral debut. He will take charge of the constituency that has been the senior Gehlot’s home turf for almost four decades.
Jaipur Rural: Krishna Punia
Athlete-turned-politician Krishna Punia will contest from Jaipur Rural against sitting MP and Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. In the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections, she defeated BJP leader Ram Singh Kaswan by over 18,000 votes. In 2013 too, she fought on a Congress ticket in 2013 but came a distant third. In 2010, Punia became the first Indian track and field athlete in 52 years to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. She also won a bronze medal in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Barmer: Manvendra Singh
Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra has been chosen to fight the election from Barmer. Manvendra, who left the BJP to join the last year, replaces former MP Harish Choudhary. Manvendra himself was elected as a BJP MP in 2004.
Alwar: Jitendra Singh
Former minister of state Jitendra Singh will once again fight from his traditional constituency of Alwar. It is to be noted that Singh belongs to the royal family that once ruled the erstwhile princely state. A close aide of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Singh served as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers between 2011 and 2014.
Tonk-Sawai Madhopur: Namo Narain Meena
Namo Narain Meena will be fighting for his third term in Parliament from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency. A former IPS officer of the Rajasthan Cadre, Meena represented Sawai Madhopur in the 14th Lok Sabha. In the aftermath of the 2008 delimitation, Meena won the newly-created Tonk-Sawai Madhopur Lok Sabha seat in 2009. Meena served as a Minister of State in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Council of Ministers.
North Goa: Girish Chodankar
Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar will be pitted against sitting BJP MP and Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Pradeep Padgaonkar in North Goa. Chodankar contested the 2017 by-poll in Panaji against former chief minister Manohar Parrikar but lost. Chodankar came into the spotlight in 2013 when Congress president Rahul Gandhi chose him as one of the All India Congress Committee secretaries.
South Goa: Francisco Sardinha
In South Goa, Francisco Sardinha will be facing sitting BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar and AAP's Elvis Gomes. Sardinha has represented South Goa thrice in the past. In 1998, he was elected from Murmagao, which later became South Goa. He returned to the Parliament in a 2007 by-poll and retained South Goa in the 2009 General Elections. Sardinha was also the chief minister for less than a year – with the support of the BJP – between 1999 and 2000.
Araku (ST): Shruti V Devi
Making a debut in politics, lawyer and social activist Shruti V Devi has already become one of the key candidates for the Congress. She contests the election from Araku constituency and is taking on her father and former union minister V Kishore Chandra Deo from Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Shruti will also contest against debutant G Madhavi from YSR Congess party. Hailing from the Kurupam royal family in Vizianagaram district, Shruti is known to have a low-key profile and is a certified member of the Konda Dora tribe. An advocate of gender justice, she hopes to win over the constituency, which is reserved for scheduled tribes, by promising jobs under the Forest Rights Act.
Kakinada: MM Pallam Raju
Hailing from the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, MM Pallam Raju is the grandson of freedom fighter Mallipudi Pallam Raju. In 1989, he became the youngest parliamentarian after he was elected from the Kakinada constituency at the age of 27. He won the elections from the constituency again in 2004 and 2009. However, in 2014, he was a distant third. In 2006, Raju was appointed Union minister of state for defence. In 2012, he became the Union minister for human resource development.
Narsapuram: Kanumuri Bapiraju
A two-time parliamentarian, Kanumuri Bapiraju is the manifesto committee chairperson for the state. He has also served as the chairperson of the Tirumala-Tirupati Board for two terms. Bapiraju hails from the west Godavari district of the state and has been cabinet minister of Andhra Pradesh thrice. The 72-year-old politician is up against TDP candidate and industrialist Vetukuri Venkata Shiva Rama Raju.
Bapatla(SC): Jesudasu Seelam
Seelam is a party heavyweight in Andhra Pradesh. The former IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, Seelam has served as a member of the Rajya Sabha twice. Seelam had quit the IAS to join politics in 1999. He contested the Lok Sabha elections from Bapatla on a Congress ticket but lost. He has since moved on to bigger roles. In 2013 he became a union minister of state for finance. Seelam belongs to the Mala community and will contest from the constituency after a decade.
Tirupati(SC): Chinta Mohan
Chinta Mohan is a six-time parliamentarian since he began his political career in 1984. He won the seat from Tirupati on a TDP ticket before defecting to the Congress. The 65-year-old party veteran later won the Lok Sabha elections twice consecutively from the Tirupati constituency, once in 2004 and then in 2009 before losing to YSRC candidate Varaprasad Rao Velagapalli in 2014. The Congress veteran has held the post of Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers. Pitted against YSRC candidate Balli Durgaprasada Rao and former Congress leader Panabaka Lakshmi (now TDP), the senior politician has focussed his campaign on all-round development, irrespective of caste.
Arunachal West: Nabam Tuki
Nabam Tuki is a Congress veteran in this Northeastern state, where party hoping among candidates is common. The 55-year-old politician was the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh from 2011 to 2016, when a political crisis led to the President’s Rule. He took charge again in July 2016 but had to resign only three days later on account of the Arunachal Pradesh assembly floor test. Tuki has criticised the BJP-led central government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and said that the bill goes against the tribal people living in the state. He has been pitched against BJP heavyweight and Union minister Kiren Rijiju.
Arunachal East: James Lowangcha Wanglet
James Lowangcha Wanglet has served in the state cabinet of Arunachal Pradesh. Hailing from the royal family of the Iowangs of Namsang-Borduria, Wanglet has been an active student politician before joining electoral politics in the seventies. He is a founding member of the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal and has had stints in several national parties including the Janata Dal and the BJP. In fact, in 2014, he contested the state legislative elections on a BJP ticket but has since defected to the Congress.
Bilaspur: Atal Shrivastav
Known to be close to party chief Rahul Gandhi, Atal Shrivastav is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Bilaspur. Hailing from Bilaspur, Shrivastav is known as an activist in the field of education and has worked towards better implementation of the Right to Education Act. Shrivastav is also the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary and is known to be close to chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. While this constituency has not been held by a Congress candidate ever, the party is hopeful that Shrivastav will be able to pull a win.
Raipur: Pramod Dubey
Mayor of the Raipur Municipal Corporation, Pramod Dubey will contest the seat from the capital, which has been a BJP bastion since 1996. Dubey, who was vice president of the Chhattisgarh Youth Congress, is expected to ride high on his success in the mayoral elections in 2015 and sway votes in his favour. He has also been pivotal in bringing projects to make Raipur a smart city. A sigh of relief for Dubey came after the BJP dropped seven-time MP Ramesh Bais.
Mahasamund: Dhanendra Sahu
A five-time MLA from Abhanpur, Dhanendra Sahu will contest his first Lok Sabha elections. He has also served as the chairperson of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress. Sahu has been assigned with the colossal responsibility of bringing the seat back to the Congress. Party heavyweight Vidya Charan Shukla has been elected from this constituency six times and former chief minister Ajit Jogi, too, has represented this constituency, before it fell to BJP in 2009.
Jammu and Kashmir
Udhampur: Vikramaditya Singh
A former MLA from the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Democratic Party, Vikramaditya Singh joined the Congress in 2018. This is the first time the Rajput candidate will contest the Lok Sabha elections. Grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, Vikramaditya has a big responsibility to shoulder. He has been pitted against union minister and BJP candidate Jitendra Singh, also a Rajput. The constituency has primarily voted for the Congress with a few exceptions including the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Jitendra was elected MP.
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