The Congress workers and the Janata Dal-United leaders, have welcomed reports of Priyanka Gandhi consenting to campaign for her party, in the upcoming 2017 UP assembly elections, while the BJP said the development may hurt her brother and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s credibility.
Congress Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar said on Friday that Priyanka has accepted the request of party leaders to campaign extensively in the state.
“It has been decided that she will campaign for UP elections. Whenever we will get her schedule, we will use her time accordingly,” Babbar told reporters after a party meeting attended by Priyanka and Rahul on Friday.
In the past too, Priyanka has attended the party’s strategy discussions on UP for both Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
Reacting to the reports, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said on Saturday, “Congress workers will be happy if Priyanka Gandhi participates in poll campaigning.”
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the ‘party is ready and expecting her (to join)’.
“(but) It depends on Priyanka Gandhi whether she wants to participate in the elections and whether she will join or not,” he added.
The Janata Dal-United has welcomed the Congress party’s decision.
“I am delighted if the Congress has decided to launch Priyanka Gandhi for campaigning in the Uttar Pradesh elections and it is only going to benefit the goal to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party,” JD (U) leader Shyam Rajak said on Saturday.
“Our leader Nitish Kumar also reiterated the intention of the party, and with unity, we will defeat the BJP and Priyanka Gandhi will also play a crucial role,” he added.
However the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Congress ‘promotes Priyanka’s name whenever they feel Rahul’s image is in trouble’.
“Whenever the stock of Rahul Gandhi is down, the Congress floats this idea. All I can say is it shows that there is less credibility of Rahul Gandhi, therefore, Priyanka’s name keeps coming up now and then,” BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh said.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will go to polls in February-March next year.
Once the election schedule is announced, Babbar said, it will bring more clarity on Priyanka’s campaign plans. He had earlier claimed that Priyanka could campaign in all 403 constituencies of politically crucial UP if she has enough time.
Congress leaders have maintained that Priyanka’s presence will boost confidence and re-energise not only party workers but also the people across the state.
Till now, she has restricted her election campaign only in the family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Rahul and Sonia.
Officially, the party has insisted that a decision on Priyanka’s role in the upcoming assembly elections will be taken by her in consultation with the Congress chief and Rahul.
“She is going to play a major role. Let everything be finalised,” UP Congress campaign committee chairman Sanjay Singh said on Friday.