Finally Priyanka Gandhi takes a plunge, joins active politics
NEW DELHI: Ending years of speculation, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally entered politics on Wednesday with the Congress appointing her general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East in a move reflecting the party’s intent to go full throttle in the state ahead of the general elections.
She will take over her new assignment in the politically crucial state — a Congress bastion till the mid 1980s — from the first week of February, a statement from the party said.
The appointment is being seen as a masterstroke which will boost the morale of party workers in a state where Congress influence has been waning over the years and where the Samajwadi Party and the BahujanSamaj Party have announced a tie-up.
Priyanka Gandhi, who turned 47 on January 12, will assist her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Hindi heartland state, which has 80 LokSabha seats, the largest of any state in the country.
There had been speculation over her entry into active politics and the party and her mother Sonia Gandhi had said that she would take the plunge when she decides so.
“Congress president has also appointed SmtPriyanka Gandhi Vadra as AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East. She will be taking charge with effect from first week of February 2019,” a statement from Ashok Gehlot said.
Rahul Gandhi also appointed senior party leader JyotiradityaScindia as AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh West.
Priyanka Gandhi and Scindia replace GhulamNabi Azad, who has been appointed AICC general secretary for Haryana, where the party is divided into factions.
The Congress chief appointed K C Venugopal as general secretary Organisation. He replaces Ashok Gehlot, who has since become chief minister of Rajasthan.
Venugopal will continue to be AICC general secretary for Karnataka, where the party is in power with the Janata Dal Secular.
“The party appreciates the contribution of Ashok Gehlot as AICC general secretary (Organisation),” a note from the party chief said.
Priyanka Gandhi was earlier actively involved in key decision making in the party along with her mother and brother, including the selection of new chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recently.
She was also instrumental in initiating the entry of ManpreetBadal and Navjot Singh Sidhu in the Punjab Congress.
The mother of two is married to Robert Vadra, who is embroiled in a land row in Haryana and Rajasthan and is facing probes by the Enforcement Directorate.
Congratulations P… always by your side in every phase of your life. Give it your best, Vadra said in a Facebook post.
Her joining active politics by assuming an important role in the party heralds the entry of another Gandhi scion.
Party workers speculated that she may contest Rae Bareli seat, which is currently represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi.
BJP spokesperonSambitPatra when questioned about her joining said, “This is not a challenge for BJP. This was expected. It’s family politics. And it reflects that Rahul Gandhi has failed. In future, Robert Vadra too will enter politics. Only a Gandhi can become president of the party.”
Dinesh Sharma, the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, said Priyanka’s appointment would make no difference to the landscape of politics both in UP and overall.
“If you look at 2014 LokSabha poll, she was campaigning for 46 seats out which the party won just two seats. Congress knows it can’t turn the tides against itself. Hence, her appointment. It, however, will make a difference to party cadres who are struck with dynasty politics,” he says.