Priyanka Sets Cong Agenda: Brahmin, Naujawan, Kisan and Musalman


Priyanka Gandhi. — File photo


M. Anas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — The entry of Priyanka Gandhi into formal politics has not only energised the Congress rank and file, but it has started setting the agenda of the party in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She has been made in-charge of Poorvanchal (eastern UP), which is the bastion of Brahmin voters in the state and Gandhi, being a Brahmin, will woo them. Besides, it is the backyard of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a Thakur, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who contested from Varanasi or Benares.

The latest Gandhi to enter politics, according to sources, has been fielded to take on both these stalwarts and once and if she does it successfully, say sources, the battle for the citadel of UP would be nearly won.

Priyanka is currently said to be in the US and will likely return at the end of the month to prepare the strategy for her launch.

Sources told Caravan Daily that the Congress is planning a joint Rahul-Priyanka press conference in Lucknow on February 4. “Later, a grand rally of the brother-sister duo may be planned from Lucknow to Rae Bareli and Amethi, the parliamentary constituencies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi,” a Congress functionary from UP said.

A source close to Priyanka Gandhi’s local team in Rae Braeli told the Caravan Daily that Priyanka would not only target Brahmin votes as is being speculated, she will raise three key issues. “Didi (Priyanka) will talk about the lack of jobs for the youth (naujawan), acute distress of farmers (kisan) and grave injustice being done to minorities (musalman). This will be her key planks for the UP campaign besides raising issues of mis-governance by the BJP in UP and at the centre,” said S K, a veteranCongress worker in Rae Bareli.

On the question of Priyanka contesting the Lok Sabha polls, the majority of workers said that Priyanka will most likely contest from Rae Bareli and would also look after the fieldwork for her brother in the neighbouring Amethi.

Priyanka is also tasked to shape the public perception and political atmosphere in favour of the Congress in around 40 Lok Sabha seats of Poorvanchal.

It is said that the responsibility on Priyanka’s shoulders would lessen the burden on party president Rahul Gandhi. “During the 2019 campaign, Rahulji will have to tour the whole country and hence the key state of Uttar Pradesh will be looked after by didi (Priyanka) and Scindiaji (Jyoriraditya), who will be the party’s captain in Western UP,” said a UP Congress worker.

Hinting about the Congress agenda to be carried along Priyanka’s UP launch, the Congress president himself tweeted late on Wednesday: “UP is central to building a new hope-filled and compassionate India. The new UP AICC team led by Priyanka and Jytiraditya will herald the dawn of a new kind of politics in the state. We will offer the youth in UP a dynamic new platform to transform the state.”

Congress workers in Rae Bareli have started preparing posters likening Priyanka to her grandmother and the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “Priyanka Nahi Aandhi Hai, Doosri Indira Gandhi Hai (Priyanka is a storm, she is new-age Indira Gandhi)” will soon be festooned on the walls of Rae Bareli, Amethi and entire Uttar Pradesh.

Sharad Gupta, the political editor of prominent UP newspaper Amar Ujala, sees Priyanka’s entry as a big boost to Congress and setbacks to both BJP and SP-BSP alliance.

“One day she had to come and now she has come into formal politics. In 2004, when Priyanka was canvassing for her mother, we had seen the rise of Congress like a phoenix. I think this is déjà vu moment. Congress is on the rise. Even as we are gathering inputs from villages and towns across UP, the obvious sentiment is shifting from the BJP to Congress. Congress has to catch hold of this sentiment. Priyanka will be out for this task,” said Gupta.

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