amata, Maya, and Priyanka Gandhi — three strong women are going to make it little tough for BJP in the 2019 elections. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee always challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She has already given a hard time to BJP in her own bastion. Mayawati might have lost in 2014, but one cannot ignore her political experience and journey; now she is playing it well to show doors to the BJP in UP which is Modi’s constituency. Her party Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joined hands with Samajwadi Party (SP) and the strategy is well-crafted to counter BJP and Modi. The impact of the BSP-SP alliance and why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken recent decisions — from bringing in a significant constitutional amendment, introducing reservations for economically weaker sections to announcing a cow cess and promising cow shelters for strays — is visible in Uttar Pradesh.
Banerjee is a seasoned politician; she began her political career in the Congress party and as a young woman in the 1970s, she quickly rose in the ranks of the local Congress group and remained the general secretary of Mahila Congress (I). In the 1984 general election, Banerjee became one of India’s youngest parliamentarians ever defeating veteran Communist politician Somnath Chatterjee. She also became the General Secretary of the Indian Youth Congress. Losing her seat in the 1989 general elections in an anti-Congress wave, she was re-elected in the 1991 general elections, having settled into the Calcutta South constituency. She retained the Kolkata South seat in the 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2009 general elections. In the Rao government formed in 1991, Banerjee was made the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Youth Affairs, and Sports, and Women and Child Development. As the Sports Minister, she announced that she would resign and protested in a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata against the government’s indifference towards her proposal to improve sports in the country. She was discharged of her portfolios in 1993. In 1997, Banerjee left the Congress Party in West Bengal and established the All India Trinamool Congress which quickly became the primary opposition party to the long-standing Communist government in the State. Since then, she just ruled Bengal; her personal life is very average and down to earth.
Referring to the upcoming general elections, she claimed that the BJP should expire politically as it was edging closer to its “expiry date”. Refuting Shah’s claims that a certain community in Bengal was obstructing Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja, Banerjee claimed that there were no impediments in holding religious festivities in the state. She also challenged Shah and the BJP to prove their charges or else leave politics.
A new entry of 47-year-old Priyanka Gandhi has been another challenge to BJP; she is been appointed as the Indian National Congress’s General Secretary of the eastern side of the crucial bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in northern India. The fifth generation politician joins her elder brother Rahul Gandhi, President of the Congress party, as he seeks to mount a challenge against the Hindutva nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national elections barely three months away. With almost 80 key seats coming from the state, UP almost always plays the most important role in the national government formation exercise.
The Congress cadre has long demanded Gandhi’s entry into the electoral fray. Priyanka is sharper than RaGa and her look resembles Mrs. Gandhi; however, she doesn’t have the political acumen like her grandmother so far. Probably she was not exposed like her grandmother as even her father Rajiv was suddenly pushed into politics. The biggest hindrance is her husband Vadra who is embroiled into various nepotism issues, which will be a deterrence to her political career. However, she is one of the strongest Gandhi children who has countered all the allegations of BJP and gave a befitting reply to PM Modi. The baton of leadership has been handed over to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. Now they have to prove themselves in 2019 although INC has already bounced back in various states. Rahul Gandhi has matured with time. BJP may tag him as ‘Pappu’ but many a times, he has proved all his opponents a Pappu (naive). INC is the oldest political party in India at the national level having its routes in the Indian independence movement. Moreover, it is the party which has ruled India for the maximum period since 1947. At state level also, INC has its presence in few states. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is a sign that the grand old party has finally got its leader.
She comes across as a more mature politician than Rahul Gandhi. The manner in which she talks to the people, she is able to establish connections with the citizens and that is missing in Rahul. Congress has found the new Indira Gandhi; her face is disturbing all political parties. Congress is going to benefit from her arrival in the political stage. Even though the appointment comes at a time when the Congress under Rahul Gandhi is on an unprecedented high after vanquishing the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, the popularity of Priyanka and curiosity among the voters are growing and that’s even before she holds a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh.
The first public meeting of Priyanka is expected to be in Lucknow on February 10 when she will launch Congress’s Uttar Pradesh campaign along with her brother Rahul Gandhi. Priyanka Gandhi is the saviour of Congress, people believe that she can inspire because she resembles her grandmother and has the political acumen and personality to take on Modi. Not only Congress (supporters), Priyanka comes as a beacon of hope for all those voters who are not with the BJP. She is the saviour, the one youthful leader who can fight against the BJP nationally.