Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has decided to retain the Raebareli parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh and vacate the Wayanad constituency in Kerala to allow his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to make an electoral debut in a bye-election to be held later.

Rahul Gandhi won both the seats in the just-held 2024 Lok Sabha elections, but he decided to hold on to Raebareli constituency which has been the Gandhi family pocket borough since former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s days as well as politically important as it lies in the most populous state of UP.

The decision was taken at a meeting amongst the Gandhi family -- Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi -- Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and party general secretary KC Venugopal Monday evening. Party general secretary Priyanka by accepting the family and Congress’ decision, has given up her reluctance to enter into electoral fray though she has been managing Amethi and Raebareli for her family behind the scenes, for the last two decades. She has otherwise been campaigning in elections and managing party affairs.

What Kharge said

Sonia Gandhi, also a former party president, had moved to Rajya Sabha ahead of the Lok Sabha elections giving up her claim to Raebareli seat which she has been representing for long.

After the meeting was over at his residence, Congress chief Kharge declared before the media, “Rahul Gandhi won two Lok Sabha seats but as per the law he has to vacate one seat. Rahul Gandhi will keep Raebareli and vacate the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat,” the Congress president said.

He announced that Priyanka will fight elections from Wayanand seat while thanking both the brother and sister for strengthening the party. Rahul, Priyanka and Venugopal were present at the press conference.

Rahul Gandhi said he is “emotionally connected” with both Raebareli and Wayanad .

Priyanka said she is happy and not nervous to contest elections, for the first time.