Rahul has represented the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh since 2004. But for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he might also be in fray from a seat each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Nanded in Maharashtra is considered a safe seat for the Congress, having won 16 of the 20 Lok Sabha elections and byelections here. It was a face-saver for the Congress even during the 2014 rout, electing former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan. The party won three of the six assembly seats here. More recently, it swept the Nanded Municipal Corporation polls, winning 73 out of the 81 seats.
Rahul contesting from Nanded could also have a spillover effect in Latur, Yavatmal-Washim, Parbhani and Hingoli — thereby helping the Congress-NCP cause in the Marathwada region for both the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due in September-October. The constituency also borders Karnataka and Telangana, where the Congress hopes to improve its showing from 2014.
The Congress chief might also contest from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, currently represented by state CM Kamal Nath, and another congress bastion. The party last suffered a reversal here in 2003. Kamal Nath will be stepping down soon to become an MLA to continue as Madhya Pradesh CM. The district though, has voted differently in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls previously.
Since 1980, Nath has lost the Lok Sabha seat just once. But, for instance, in 2013, the Congress could win only 3 out of 7 seats in the district. Six months later, Nath went on to win the Lok Sabha seat for the ninth time, surviving the ‘Modi wave’ in the Hindi heartland. BJP, however, held the advantage in Chhindwara during the 2008 and 2003 state polls, despite Nath triumphing at the Lok Sabha polls with comfortable margins.