iconimg Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 20, 2014
At the AICC meet on January 17 when all eyes were on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who delivered what came to be known as his most passionate speech ever, sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, stood somewhere in the wings, away from the media glare. As the Congress gets ready for the Lok Sabha polls, one thing is becoming increasingly clear — in the coming months Priyanka Gandhi will play a more definitive role in the backroom management of Rahul’s political affairs.

The Congress’ poll strategy document — Vision 2014 — makes a clear reference to ‘PG and her role’.

According to sources, the strategy-paper to formulate the Congress’ campaign for the upcoming election, suggests she will play an active role in galvanising party cadres and provide valuable inputs to the election team.

Sources also suggest she has increased her political interactions with key Congress functionaries, especially youth leaders and keeps a tab on regular political developments as well.

A few social media activists of the Congress regularly visit Priyanka’s office. And Rahul’s key aide Kanishka Singh helps her manage her appointments.

Party insiders also added that the final talking points of Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the AICC meeting, where he announced several key measures and spelt out his vision for the future, was prepared after extensive consultations with his sister.

Two days before the session, Rahul and Priyanka had a marathon meeting at the Congress president’s official residence where some select leaders were also present.

The Congress, however, has chosen to downplay her growing political involvement. "She will campaign only in Raebareli and Amethi," AICC general secretary Ajay Maken said recently, quashing rumours of her bigger role.

Recently, Priyanka also joined a meeting of senior leaders, where the poll-tour plans of both Rahul and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were discussed.