Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to file her nomination papers on Wednesday for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for February 27. She is set to enter the Upper House of the Parliament for the first time after serving as a Lok Sabha MP for five terms, if she goes ahead with her nomination as reported.


Gandhi Dynasty Enters Rajya Sabha

Mrs Gandhi was accompanied by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra when she filed her nomination papers in Jaipur. With this move, Sonia Gandhi will be the second member from the Gandhi family after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to be a Rajya Sabha MP.

Sonia Gandhi has been a five-time Lok Sabha MP since 1999 when she first contested and won from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi and Karnataka’s Bellary seats in a by-election. She retained the Amethi seat in 2004 and shifted to Rae Bareli while vacating Amethi for her son Rahul Gandhi.

The Shift from Lok Sabha to Rajya Sabha

The 77-year-old leader had announced in 2019 that the Lok Sabha elections then would be her last. Her decision to shift to the Rajya Sabha is being seen by political observers as a move to avoid the hurly-burly of direct elections considering her health issues.

Rajasthan Picked Over Other Options

The fact that Sonia Gandhi chose Rajasthan over other states where Congress could have comfortably won a Rajya Sabha seat is telling. The party had options in states like Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. But the move to pick Rajasthan, a key Hindi heartland state, sends a signal that the first family of the Congress is not abandoning the crucial region politically.

Speculations Over Priyanka Gandhi’s Candidature

Sonia Gandhi’s decision to opt out of fighting Lok Sabha polls in Rae Bareli has also sparked speculation that her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may be considered for candidature from the constituency in 2024. But there has been no official word from the Congress leadership yet on fielding Priyanka Gandhi in direct elections.

Advantage Congress in Rajya Sabha Polls

The upcoming polls will see elections to 56 Rajya Sabha seats spread across 15 states. A total of 57 seats will fall vacant in April when the sitting MPs retire but the EC has decided to hold elections for only 56 seats due to a pending court case on one seat.

The Congress is comfortably positioned to win one of the three seats up for polls from Rajasthan where Mrs Gandhi has filed her papers. Manmohan Singh, also elected from Rajasthan, will be retiring in April thereby vacating the seat for Sonia Gandhi. With its current strength in the Rajasthan state legislative assembly, the Congress appears set to see Gandhi’s smooth sail into the Rajya Sabha.


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