Enter Priyanka: Congress on cloud nine
Enter Priyanka: Congress on cloud nine

A vast section of Congressmen is over the moon that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into active politics is an ultimate Brahmastra and would prove to be a game changer for the Congress party. 

One has to admit that Priyanka in terms of charisma has mass appeal though it is different and debateable issue as to what extent she can convert her charisma into votes. So far, she has been a backstage actor and strategist. 

But with Sonia Gandhi having entered the phase of Nirvana and keeping in view her health conditions and the electoral battle this time becoming murkier by the day, Priyanka’s entry would certainly infuse some oxygen into the Congress which has just started regaining its lost ground. It is also a fact that Priyanka steals a march over Rahul in terms of oratory skills. 

She has perfected the art much better than Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and in terms of mannerism she resembles Indira Gandhi more. It is also said that like her grandmother, she is firm in her opinion and a taskmaster.

The Congress hopes that with the glossy image of Modi disappearing, the charisma of Priyanka in Uttar Pradesh would help the grand old party to meet the challenge of the SP-BSP alliance. It wants to project that the party would utilise the experience of the old horses and make the young horses gallop in the field. 

Since 1990, the Congress had been urging her to enter active politics, but she had restrained herself to campaign and played the role of backroom strategist. Of course, this has also invited comments that at a time when Rahul Gandhi who had kept former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on tenterhooks while dousing the prime ministerial ambitions of veterans like Pranab Mukherjee and was being groomed as the next prime ministerial candidate, introducing Priyanka on the political scenario would affect the brand image of Rahul.

The BJP, which too, is not in a situation where it can claim that it would be a cakewalk for it in the elections, is trying to put up a brave face saying that the Congress had no option but to bring her into active politics since no party in any State was willing for political alliance. In UP, the SP-BJP refused to give any space for the Congress. In Andhra Pradesh too, it is now official that there would be no alliance between the TDP and the Congress. 

But then what the ruling party perhaps is trying to gloss over is that not having alliances in the States is itself a strategy of the 23 parties which vow to oust the saffron party from power. Show your strength in your respective States and let us pool our seats after the election and select a leader who can lead the country is the strategy. 

It would of course be naïve to think that the BJP does not know or understand this. All the moves it now proposes to take up, whether it be more sops in the vote on account budget to be introduced soon or the 10 EBC reservation which was passed in a hurry in Parliament are all aimed at dashing the dreams of the Opposition.

That is why the Gathbandhan is contemplating to announce 52 percent reservation for OBCs. It feels that this can neutralise the impact of the goodwill Modi might have won by bringing in the 10 percent reservation for EBCs. What is most interesting is that even Shiv Sena has welcomed the entry of Priyanka into active politics. The Sena MP in Lok Sabha Arvind Sawant said, “Everyone has a right to enter into politics and active politics. She has come, we welcome her, wish her the best. We don't know why they have brought her and what's going to happen."

Congress says, “We're fired up & ready to go!” Let’s see how things shape up. For the public, she has the imperial mien of Indira Gandhi coupled with her father Rajiv’s ease. This is in sharp contrast to her brother, who still seems uncomfortable with public life. 


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