Whether Priyanka Gandhi will play a pro-active role in next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will be a decision left primarily to her mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, sources in the party said on Monday.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor — who is advising the Congress leadership on the party’s poll plans in Uttar Pradesh — is learnt to have floated the idea of giving Priyanka an important role in the elections.
“A decision on her role in Uttar Pradesh will be taken by Priyanka Vadra herself along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi,” party spokesperson Shobha Oza said.
UP Congress leaders have been urging the party leadership to get Priyanka to step out of the family pocket borough of Rae Bareli and Amethi and campaign in other constituencies as well. The country’s most populous state that sends the highest number of lawmakers – 80 – to the 543-member Lok Sabha is going to polls early next year.
Organisational weaknesses have often been blamed for the Congress’ poor show in the state where the party is desperately seeking a revival of its political fortunes after being voted out of power in 1989.
The emergence of divisive ‘Mandal-Mandir’ politics and rise of the BSP, which took away its crucial Dalit vote base, pushed the Congress to margins.
In the 2012 poll campaign, Rahul had addressed 211 public meetings across the state in just 45 days. However, the party failed to cash in on his high voltage campaign and could win only 28 of the total 403 seats — six more than its tally in 2007 elections — due to a non-existent organisational structure.