Senior Cong leaders were unaware of Priyanka Gandhi’s political move
The move was kept strictly under the wraps and timed to match with Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Uttar Pradesh visit. Even senior leaders were not aware of the developments.Updated: Jan 24, 2019 13:37 IST
The Congress party’s announcement on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joining active politics took not only the BJP and other political parties by surprise, but even several senior Congress leaders.
The move was kept strictly under the wraps and timed to match with Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Uttar Pradesh visit. Even senior leaders were not aware of the developments
The party’s general secretary, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who till Wednesday was looking after the party affairs in the state that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, had called a meeting of select office bearers in Lucknow on Thursday.
Azad, who has now been given the charge of Haryana, had also scheduled a brainstorming session for UP at the party’s “war room” at 15, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road in Delhi on Friday. He had even booked flight tickets for Lucknow.
On January 12, during a speech in Dubai Rahul Gandhi had dropped a few hints when he said a ‘big surprise’ was in the offing but had not given any details. Gandhi is reported to have gone to the US from Dubai to meet his sister Priyanka Gandhi to discuss the political plunge.
A large number of Congress leaders have demanded over the years that Priyanka Gandhi take the plunge into active politics. But she confined herself to campaign management in Rae Bareli and Amethi, and was informally involved in the party’s election preparedness in UP in Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the past.
She was seen to have played a key role in stitching up an alliance with SP for the 2017 assembly elections, but the tie-up failed to help the Congress in its revival attempt as it managed to win just seven of the 403 seats.
“Her entry will change the nature of politics in the country. This will also shatter the illusions of the BJP and give its leaders sleepless nights henceforth,” said Prakash Joshi, AICC secretary in-charge of UP.
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Former Union minister and party in-charge of Jharkhand RPN Singh, who contests elections from UP’s Kushinagar, echoed the sentiment. “She will strengthen the party in its resolve to fight communal and casteist forces. She has brought the Congress back in the narrative straightway,” he said.
Another former Union minister from UP, Jitin Prasada, said: “She is a game-changer. The politics in the Hindi heartland is about to change. With a new general in command, each UP Congress worker is battle-ready. She has not taken any position in a place where the Congress is doing well but taken a challenge head-on in a state where the party badly needs her.”
According to a party statement, Priyanka Gandhi will take charge in the first week of February. Scindia, who represents Madhya Pradesh’s Guna in the Lok Sabha, will take over immediately and continue to be the party’s chief whip in the Lower House of Parliament.