Analyzing Congress’ First Candidate List For Lok Sabha 2024

The Congress party released its first candidate list for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 elections on 8th March 2024. Most candidates announced are from South India, where the party holds a strong position relative to the rest of India. After a crushing defeat in the recently held assembly elections, the Congress is riding the ship of elections on the fact that its alliance will remain intact till the Lok Sabha elections. The list includes senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, Shashi Tharoor, and former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel. Given the names of these senior leaders, it can be predicted that this time the Congress will use its experienced candidates to win the elections.

The BJP recently released its first list of 195 candidates, which covers states from all regions. In contrast, Congress has only released the list for the Southern Region, where the BJP lacks the dominant power and can be a chance for Congress to retain its seat and consolidate power. The Congress has been struggling to keep its alliance partners intact. After Nitish Kumar of JDU left the I.N.D.I. alliance and joined the NDA alliance, the hopes of other partners of the alliance also get jittered and shattered which can be seen in the form of TMC snapping ties with INC. 

The Congress party’s first list consists of 39 candidates, 6 from Chhattisgarh, 7 from Karnataka,16 from Kerala, 2 from Meghalaya, 1 from Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and Lakshadweep each. Regarding caste-wise representation, 15 candidates are from the general category, and 24 belong to the SC/ST/OBC and other minority categories. This time congress has given tickets to both the youth and experienced leaders,i.e., 12 candidates from below 50 years old, 8 are between 50 and 60 years old, 12 are aged 61-70 and 7 are in the age group of 71-76. 


56% of the population of the state belongs to the general category, 30.6% to the ST, and 12.8% to the SC category. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, congress won only 1 seat while BJP won 10 out of 11 seats, and in 2019, they improved their tally to 2 seats with a vote share of 41.5%. This time, Congress has announced the candidate names for 6 seats, among them 3 seats are allocated to OBC candidates, 1 to SC candidates, and 1 to the general category candidate. The reserved SC candidate ticket for the Jangir-Champa constituency is given to Shiv Kumar Dahariya, who has been MLA thrice. In the Durg constituency where the  Sahu community holds a significant proportion, 4 out of 9 seats are dominated by the Sahu community, Congress selected a newcomer, Rajendra Sahu, who belongs to the community and can be proved as a game changer in that constituency. For the upcoming elections, the I.N.D.I. alliance is expected to get 38% of the total vote share.


A majority of about 75.9% belong to the general category, 17.1% to the SC, and 7% to the ST category. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, congress won only one seat out of 28, with a vote share of 32.1%. After winning the 2023 assembly elections, the Congress is optimistic about their winning probability in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. They have released the names of 7 candidates, of which 4 belong to the Vokkaliga community and 1 each from the Eidiga, Lingayat-Veerashaiva, which forms a significant proportion across north India and influences the 12 parliamentary regions, and SC communities. Earlier in 2019, Congress did not field candidates in certain constituencies due to its alliance with JD(S), which influences the Vokkaliga community, but this time Congress has decided to play independently, to maximize its electoral gains as JD(S) has tied up with BJP. In 2023, Laxman Savadi, a Ganiga (sub caste of Lingayat) left the BJP and joined Congress ahead of assembly elections which resulted in the defeat of the BJP  in Karnataka. For the upcoming elections, it is expected that the I.N.D.I. alliance will get 5 seats out of 28 seats and BJP will get 23 out of 28, so it can be seen that even though Congress has recently won the 2023 assembly elections in Karnataka, there is voter turnout for BJP.


The strongest position held by Congress is  Kerala with 15 seats out of 20 in the 2019 elections. In Kerala, 89.4% of the population belongs to the general category, 9.1% to the SC, and 1.5% to the ST community. If we see religion then the total population is divided as 54.7% are Hindus, 26.6% are Islamic, 18.4% are Christians, and a few Jewish populations as well. In the 2019 elections, the Congress party received 35% of the votes from Nair Hindus and 28% from Ezhava Hindus. However, the majority of votes (70%) came from Christians, with 65% of Muslims also voting for Congress. These figures suggest that the Congress party has strong support from the Christian and Muslim communities in Kerala. For the upcoming elections, congress has announced names of 16 candidates which includes, Rahul Gandhi, a prominent national leader and potential prime ministerial candidate for Congress, representing the Wayanad constituency, which he won in 2019, highlighting the state’s importance for the party. Another prominent leader of Congress, Shashi Tharoor will also contest from his sitting constituency, Thiruvananthapuram. For the third time, k. Muraleedharan has been tasked with the constituency of Thrissur, where he will face tough competition from BJP’s Suresh Gopi and CPI’s V.S. Sunil Kumar. The election in Kerala is significant for Congress, so they are choosing the candidates wisely and strategically to secure victory. It is projected that this time Congress will be able to win over all 16 seats with a vote share of 44.5%.


100% of the population of Telangana belongs to the general category. Congress has announced the names of 4 candidates, retaining 3 of the same candidates from the 2019 elections and introducing a new face, Kunduru Raghuveer Reddy, son of senior leader Kunduru Jana Reddy. In the 2019 elections, Congress won 3 out of 17 seats with a vote share of 29.8%, For the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it has been projected that Congress-led I.N.D.I.A block will win 6 seats with a vote share of 34%.


Congress, allying with CPM, has only announced the candidate name for the Tripura West constituency leaving the Tripura East constituency seat for CPM. Both the parties are anti-BJP alliance and to consolidate the opposition votes, they have allied. CPM has a strong influence on the tribal community, which holds a significant population of 31%  in Tripura East. Congress has also promised to provide the Adivasi, 8.6% of the total population, protect their tribal rights and also their “Zameen, Jungle and Jal”. According to recent opinion polls, it is projected that there could be a tie between the NDA and the I.N.D.I. alliance with one seat each.


The majority of the population,i.e., 86.5% belongs to the ST category and 13.5% to the general category. Congress has chosen S. Supongmeren Jamir as its candidate for the only Lok Sabha seat in the state. According to the recent opinion polls, BJP-led NDA is set to win the lone seat of Nagaland.

Congress has nominated Mohammad Hamdullah Sayeed in Lakshadweep, who won the elections of 2009, while in Meghalaya, Vincent Pala will contest from Shillong and Saleng A Sangma from Tura, and it is projected that there can be a tie between NDA and I.N.D.I. alliance. 


The majority of the population belongs to the general category, Congress has given a ticket to Gopal Chettri to contest from this lone seat.

These nominations reflect that Congress will keep most of the candidates the same as the 2019 elections maintaining the continuity while also introducing new faces and using its experienced leaders to strengthen its position.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, INC had secured 52 votes out of 543 and could not win over BJP. BJP retained its power with the majority. Congress was able to perform better in states like Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. Even Rahul Gandhi won the seat in Wayanad but lost the Amethi seat to the BJP’s Smt. Smriti Irani. For the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has been gearing up but this will be very challenging for Congress. The first candidate list shows that Congress is using all its experienced leaders so that the probability of losing the elections is reduced. One point that we can analyze is that the votes that Congress has been gaining are at the expense of the regional parties such as TMC, and JD(S).  

Despite the challenges in the South, Congress is also struggling to find a strong candidate, especially in the North region who can stand as a strong candidate against the BJP. To win the elections, Congress has been targeting the youth population by promising to provide apprenticeship opportunities of ₹1 lakh to the youth if they win the election. 

Will The Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 Provide Congress With An Opportunity To Win The Elections?

The answer is no because, first of all, the timing of the yatra is not good. Rahul Gandhi is doing a yatra as a Congress leader, and last year they formed the I.N.D.I alliance. Therefore, this yatra should have been a yatra of the I.N.D.I alliance, not just the Congress. This could have shown the unity and strength of the alliance. 

Secondly, this was the time when Rahul Gandhi should have been working on seat allocation, deciding which constituency candidate should contest, and gathering resources for the smooth functioning of rallies, campaigns, and other advertisements. 

Although this yatra helped the Congress win assembly elections in Telangana and Karnataka by gaining momentum in those states, it did not stop the BJP surge in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the yatra remained for a long time, but did not have much impact on the elections.

It can be observed that Congress is focusing mainly on caste division on a regional basis. This is why they have retained the majority of candidates who have an established base in those regions, as either they belong to that caste or have a good influence on the community. However, from a national perspective, some people might vote for Congress and some might vote for BJP, but the caste factor nullifies at the national level.

Author: Rinki Kumari