In the running for the crucial 2019 general elections, the oldest political party of the country, Congress, seems to have got the ‘long-awaited entry’ as a booster with Priyanka Gandhi marking her presence in active politics and being appointed as AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East by Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday. How she will add on to the most recent comeback-spree of Congress in the months-away general elections will be a noteworthy show.
While Congress President Rahul Gandhi began his two-day visit to Amethi on Wednesday, the party made this giant news public with a press statement informing that she will be taking charge of her responsibility with effect from February first week. The statement also read Jyotiraditya Scindia being in-charge of the western UP and KC Venugopal as the AICC General Secretary (Organisation) replacing Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot.
Senior Congress leader and former MP Eknath Gaikwad expressed, “Whenever politicians from the Gandhi dynasty have entered the politics, the outcome has been fruitful. With the appointment of Priyanka Gandhi as the in-charge of East UP, we expect that it will be a significant advantage in the upcoming polls.”
“Priyanka has the same charisma that her grandmother Indira Gandhi had as a popular mass leader and crowd-puller. I feel obliged that I got the opportunity to work with the Gandhi family and now with Priyanka Gandhi,” he added.
Priyanka with her charismatic personality refreshes memories of her grandmother and former Prime Minister for many. Although Junior Indira made her debut now, she has always been a popular figure among masses with an ability to gather a crowd wherever she goes. So far in earlier elections, the contributions of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 47, the daughter of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, were only limited to helping her brother Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in campaigning for Amethi and Raebareli Parliamentary constituencies. However, this time, as the in-charge for eastern UP, she will be managing the campaign for the party in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Parliamentary constituency, which falls in the region.
Dr. Santosh Yadav, Youth Secretary of Pragatishil Samajwadi Party said, “Launching Priyanka Gandhi into active politics is a right step ahead of the 2019 polls and it will definitely impact the emotions of the youth voters. She is an emerging face among the youth. The way Indira Gandhi brought a change in the entire country, we believe that Priyanka too will be successful.”
In the election game formula, Uttar Pradesh is considered to be a politically vital state and the most crucial passage to the country’s central power with 80 Parliamentary seats. As per the political analysts, Priyanka’s inclusion with a key role signifies how Congress is aggressively putting effort for the magic state to challenge the ruling Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata party and the week-old Mayawati-Akhilesh alliance that reached an agreement without keeping Congress in the loop.
Prashant Wasnik, BSP leader believes that Congress has no strength in Uttar Pradesh. He said, “While Congress promotes dynastic politics, BSP is a cadre-based party. Congress’ strategy to launch Priyanka into active politics will make no difference to the poll mandate. However, Congress is only featuring her in the minimum areas in the state where it has voters’ support and publicising it to have a state-wide impact. The BSP-SP alliance will be successful in the state and win the election with a majority.”
While the party workers called themselves “fired up and ready to go” believing India’s most famous political dynasty’s scion’s entry would be a huge advantage for the party in the upcoming polls, the saffron party disregarded the announcement; BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Rahul Gandhi failed, so they need Priyanka as a crutch. Can’t they find anyone beyond that family?”
BJP MLA Vilasrao Jagtap stated, “There was a time when Indian voters used to go by their emotions around the Gandhi family but that time has ended. Congress never uplifts senior leaders as the frontrunner and always promotes their family members. Every time before the election, Congress strategically brings Priyanka Gandhi for campaigning purposes; otherwise, she remains inactive rest of the time. Congress has no strong face to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Looking at the poll results five years back, in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP celebrated their landslide victory with 71 seats that significantly helped the party to claim a majority of the seats in the lower house of the Parliament. While the Samajwadi Party won five seats and the hands of the Bahujan Samaj Party remained empty, Congress only managed to secure Amethi and Raebareli which are the strongholds of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively. However, the trend has recently repealed with the party’s victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh — the three Hindi heartland states which were known to be BJP bastions.