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Priyanka Gandhi – The Differentiator for Lok Sabha Elections 2019

Posted by Aditya Singh on February 7, 2019 | Comment

Lok Sabha Elections 2019

One of the oldest theories of contemporary Indian politics comes to an end with the newest member of the Gandhi family joining politics officially. Political pundits had foreseen Priyanka’s entry into politics many times but always proved wrong. To everyone’s surprise, the Congress’s press release dated 23 January 2019 formally announced the appointment of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as Congress general secretary of Uttar Pradesh East. The move was unexpected as many Congress high command leaders accepted later that they too were not aware of the decision.

After 2014 Lok Sabha elections, there were demands for bringing Priyanka into politics from Congress workers coming from various corners of the country. A number of holdings were stretched at various occasions in Rae Bareli, Amethi, Lucknow and elsewhere calling for Priyanka’s entry into active politics. But Priyanka’s involvement remained limited to the constituencies in Rae Bareli and Amethi. It is to be noted that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi contests from these constituencies and these are the ‘pocket boroughs’ of the party.

‘Priyanka card’ is being termed as the fortune changer for the Congress party. But the truth is it can turn either way for the Congress. The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has already started targeting Priyanka by terming her as a new dynasty of the Gandhi family. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, like her surname suggests, will always be a Gandhi before a Vadra and that will be the biggest challenge she might have to face: the pressure that comes with her name. The fact that Robert Vadra is being investigated in a money laundering case and suspected DLF deal relating to land-use, plays against her.

Priyanka Gandhi emerges as a new hope for the Congress in the time when SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan is all set to contest Lok Sabha polls alone. Congress Party managed to win merely two seats in Uttar Pradesh, a state having the largest number of Lok Sabha seats.

Priyanka has been given charge of the eastern Uttar Pradesh which is strong turf of the BJP. The region is central to the BJP’s politics, fabricated around Ayodhya, having Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi’s home turf in Gorakhpur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency in Varanasi. A strong face in Priyanka can surely help Congress up their seat tally in Uttar Pradesh. It’s clearly the state to watch out for: a good report card here can tilt the overall balance for both the BJP and the Congress in the upcoming general elections.

A strong argument in favour of Mrs Vadra is that she resembles a lot to her grandmother- Mrs Indira Gandhi. Her speaking style, her body language, her hairstyle and her impeccable saris give a sense of déjà vu. The fact that people in Rae Bareli and Amethi have supported the members of the Gandhi family, fuels this theory. But it is unlikely that people are going to vote Congress only because Priyanka resembles her grandmother.

There is little doubt that even if Priyanka manages to create a favourable climate in UP, converting it into seats is another matter, given the party’s poor organisation. Plus, if anti-BJP votes split between the Congress and mahagathbandhan, it would only help the BJP instead.

The Congress was a cheering bystander in Uttar Pradesh until now. But with the launch of Priyanka Gandhi, they had made it clear that they are going to redraw the battle lines in Uttar Pradesh. It would be considered a victory for Priyanka-Scindia duo in Uttar Pradesh if they manage to bring the Congress back to its 2009 tally when they were able to grab 21 seats in the state, particularly from eastern Uttar Pradesh.