Sonia Gandhi makes emotional appeal to voters on behalf of son

(Reuters) - Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India's Congress party, made an emotional appeal to voters in the family borough, asking them to vote for her son in a region that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party have dominated in the last ten years.

Standing on stage on Friday with her children Rahul and Priyanka, Gandhi, the party's former chief and former lawmaker from Raebareli in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said her family had a special connection with the constituency.

Raebareli, which goes to the polls in the fifth phase of India's seven phase-long general election, has returned a Congress candidate in 17 of the 20 elections held there since 1952, mostly members of the Gandhi family.

Sonia Gandhi decided not to contest the seat in the current election and her son, Rahul was announced as the candidate from the region.

"I am handing over my son to you. Just as you made me yours, please treat him as one of your own. He will not disappoint you," Gandhi said, to loud cheers from the crowd.

Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, will also contest from Wayanad in Kerala state in the south, which has already voted. India allows candidates to contest multiple constituencies but they can represent only one.

Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state and elects 80 lawmakers to the lower house of parliament, the most of any state and is considered crucial to winning a national election.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies won 64 seats, including Amethi, adjacent to Raebareli.

Modi is expected to win a third term in the election that got underway on April 19 and concludes on June 1, with votes set to be counted on June 4.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Sharon Singleton)