New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday joined active politics just months ahead of the general elections and is most likely to contest the polls from the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
According to NDTV, she might contest from the Gandhi pocket-borough of Rae Bareli, even if she will debut as party’s general secretary in-charge of eastern UP. Indications are that her mother Sonia Gandhi would take a call about contesting the elections at a later stage.
While BJP has dismissed suggestions that Priyanka’s entry into politics will damage its prospects, especially in UP, which gives 80 seats to Lok Sabha, Janata Dal (United) vice president Prashant Kishor said her appointment was “one of the most awaited entries in Indian politics”. JDU is a BJP ally.
I have not sent Priyanka and Jyotiraditya for just two months (in UP). I have sent them to take the Congress’ ideology forward in Uttar Pradesh,” Rahul told reporters in Amethi. Media report suggests that Rahul had recently gone all the way to New York to pursuade her to take the plunge into politics.
“I congratulate Congress for announcing that Rahul has failed. They have done this by elevating Priyanka Gandhi. We are witnessing how Congress is going out of favour in various states. Congress is focused only on one family,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, questioning Rahul’s ability to lead the campaign.
Congress insiders, however, remained upbeat with the latest developments, maintaining that the ranks and files of the party will be galvanised and that the party will be in a better position to take on the SP-BSP alliance in the state.
Political observers believe that she will be a disrupting factor in the ensuing elections, to a limited extent. However, the late entry could be a drawback for Congress to consolidate its base and swing the elections in the party’s favour. But Congress will leave no stone un-turned to improve its performance in UP if it has to unseat the Narendra Modi government. Bringing Priyanka into the scene would help serve the purpose, they said.
She is expected to return to India on February 1.
Forty seven-year-old Priyanka, who reminds many of her grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi, is seen as a natural in politics. In national and state elections since 2004, she has campaigned exhaustively in the family seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi where the Gandhis’ enjoy almost royal status.