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Battle For Varanasi: Congress Picks Ajay Rai Against PM Modi

Entering his initial Assembly elections in 1996 on a BJP ticket from the Kolasla constituency in UP, Mr. Rai emerged victorious. He retained his position in the seat in 2002 and once more in 2007. Following his denial of a ticket to run in the Lok Sabha elections, he resigned from the BJP two years later.

Edited By : simran rajpal | Updated: Mar 31, 2024 12:30 IST
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Battle For Varanasi_ Congress Picks Ajay Rai Against PM Modi

Once again, the Congress party has nominated Ajay Rai for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Rai, who serves as the party chief in UP, will compete against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This marks the third occasion when Ajay Rai will challenge PM Modi in a Lok Sabha election.

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5 Points About PM Modi’s Competitor In Varanasi

  1. Ajay Rai, born on October 7, 1969, to Surendra Rai and Parvati Devi Rai in Varanasi, graduated from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith University in Varanasi. He initiated his political journey as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ‘karyakarta’ before assuming the role of convener of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
  2. Mr. Rai entered his first Assembly elections in 1996 on a BJP ticket from the Kolasla constituency in UP and secured victory. He maintained his hold on the seat in 2002 and again in 2007. After being denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections, he resigned from the BJP two years later. In 2009, he ran for the Varanasi seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket, securing third place after BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mukhtar Ansari.
  3. Ajay Rai regained his seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly during the 2009 Kolasla by-election, this time as an Independent candidate. He affiliated with the Congress in 2012 and secured victory in the newly established Pindra Assembly constituency in Varanasi.
  4. He participated in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi and secured a distant third position behind Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. In 2017, he made an unsuccessful bid for the UP Assembly elections from the Pindra seat.
  5. In 2019, Ajay Rai found himself once more in direct competition with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. PM Modi secured a resounding victory with a significant 63% vote share, while Mr. Rai ended up in third place behind Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. In 2023, the Congress appointed him as the president of its UP unit.

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First published on: Mar 31, 2024 12:30 PM IST

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