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Sonia Gandhi opts for Rajya Sabha, Priyanka may make poll debut from Raebareli in LS elections

Sonia Gandhi opts for Rajya Sabha, Priyanka may make poll debut from Raebareli in LS elections

New Delhi: Barely a month ahead of the expected announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule, Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has opted for a Rajya Sabha berth instead of contesting again from Raebareli. And All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may make her electoral debut from Raebareli in the parliamentary polls.

The Congress will finalise its candidates for Rajya Sabha polls soon with former party chief Sonia Gandhi among those being considered, party sources said on Tuesday ahead of the February 15 nomination deadline.

Gandhi may be fielded from Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh but a final decision on her candidature for the Upper House will be taken after further discussions, they said, adding her contesting from the Rae Bareli seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is still not ruled out.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will hold another meeting with Sonia Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, before finalising the candidates, they said.

Kharge held discussions with Sonia Gandhi on Monday and met former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, where the two addressed a poll rally in Ambikapur.

The Congress is comfortably placed to win Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

The party has not declared any candidate for the biennial elections for 56 seats from 15 states. The last date for filing nominations is February 15 and elections will be held on February 27.

A source said that Sonia Gandhi could be fielded for Rajya Sabha polls from Rajasthan. A seat will fall vacant as former prime minister Manmohan Singh's tenure ends in April this year.

The tenure of Union Minister Bhupender Yadav and Kirori Lal Meena, who resigned recently from the upper house, is also coming to an end and the BJP has already nominated its candidates Madan Rathore and Chunnilal Garasia for the RS polls.

"Sonia Gandhi is likely to be declared as the Rajya Sabha candidate from the party. She is likely to file nomination on Wednesday," a source said.

Rajasthan PCC had urged the party leadership to nominate Sonia Gandhi for the Rajya Sabha seat from the state.

The filing of nomination papers for the upper house election has started since February 8. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on February 16, while candidates will be able to withdraw their names till February 20.

If necessary, voting will be held on February 27 from 9 am to 4 pm and the counting of votes will take place from 5 pm on the same day.

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