Lok Sabha polls 2024: Who is Congress Varanasi candidate Ajay Rai, contesting against PM Modi

  • Congress party's Varansai Lok Sabha candidate Ajai Rai was previously a BJP leader. He is a former five-time MLA from Varanasi.

Updated24 Mar 2024, 07:16 AM IST
Lok Sabha election 2024:  Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leader Ajai Rai during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra
Lok Sabha election 2024: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leader Ajai Rai during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra(PTI)

With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the Congress party released its 4th list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh in which it fielded Ajai Rai from Varanasi for the third time. Notably, Varanasi has been the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014.

Lok Sabha polls 2024: Here's all you need to know about Congress Ajai Rai and his political career


Ajai Rai is currently the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief. His political career started as a 'karyakarta' of Hindu nationalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Congress releases 4th list for Lok Sabha polls, fields Ajay Rai against PM Modi

According to The Wire's old report, Rai is a graduate of the Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi. As a student, he was a convenor of the BJP's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1991-92. Ajai Rai also actively participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and went to jail under the preventive section of the law.

Rai in 1996 defeated nine-time sitting Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Udal from the Kolasla seat. His winning streak continued in 2002 as well. In the same year, Rai was rewarded with a ministerial berth as state minister for cooperatives in the Mayawati-led BSP-BJP alliance Uttar Pradesh government.

However, Rai quit the BJP in 2007 after feeling betrayed by the party as the BJP picked veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi as its Lok Sabha candidate from Varanasi. He joined the Samajwadi Party and lost the election against Joshi.

Rai's journey with Congress began in 2012 when he contested from Pindra (earlier known as Kolasla) and defeated a BJP candidate.

The party fielded him from Varanasi against the PM Narendra Modi. While Rai's nomination elevated, he finished at the third spot as the contest became two-sided (PM Modi vs AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal). Notably, Rai is a former five-time MLA from Varanasi.

PM Narendra Modi to contest Lok Sabha elections 2024 from Varanasi

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Rai again secured the third position from the Varansai seat by bagging only 1.52 lakh votes. He got a vote share of 14.38% against PM Modi's vote share of 63.62%.

Lok Sabha polls 2024: Voting in Varanasi

The Varansai people will cast a vote on 1 June. The politically crucial constituency comprises five assembly seat-Varanasi South, Varanasi North, Cantt, Rohaniya, and Sevapuri.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 : BJP's first list out, PM to contest from Varanasi

According to a Times of India report, the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat area has 19.62 lakh voters, including 10.65 lakh men and 8.97 lakh women, and 135 third-gender individuals. As many as 52,174 would be first-time voters from the Varansi Lok Sabha seat this year.

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First Published:24 Mar 2024, 07:16 AM IST
HomePoliticsNewsLok Sabha polls 2024: Who is Congress Varanasi candidate Ajay Rai, contesting against PM Modi

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