The Congress on Thursday named Ajay Rai its candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. The five-time Uttar Pradesh MLA was the party’s candidate against Modi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi in 2014 as well. He had finished third in the race.
There had been speculation earlier that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party’s general secretary in the Uttar Pradesh East region, might be fielded against Modi. Priyanka Gandhi had on Saturday said that she will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi if party chief Rahul Gandhi asks her to do so.
Rai told CNN-News18 after the announcement: “There were talks of Priyanka contesting, but I just got a call to contest. It is the party high command that takes such decisions. We party workers were ready for Priyanka to contest.”
The Congress also announced Madhusudan Tiwari’s name from the Gorakhpur constituency. Tiwari will contest against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ravi Kishan.
Polling will be held in Varanasi on May 19, the last phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls. Results will be declared along with those of other Lok Sabha constituencies on May 23.