The most asked question after Modi is that how much will the Congress benefit from the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in UP? The Congress made Priyanka the general secretary, but only half the responsibility is given to Uttar Pradesh. This proves that the Congress leadership itself is suspicious of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s all-India abilities.
Priyanka’s first assignment is difficult and challenging. UP is a wasteland for a Congress with 7.5 per cent voteshare. The challenge before Priyanka is to beat the crop of waste votes again. Neither the Congress cadre is left in UP nor the personality of Rahul Gandhi is effective. Priyanka Gandhi was the last arrow in the quiver of the Gandhi family that was beaten in UP. This is a choice or die.
Priyanka’s personality is impressive. He has the skills to connect directly with people. Her dialogue style is like that of grandmother Indira Gandhi. Apart from Narendra Modi, there is not a single face in national politics. In such a situation, Priyanka’s newness is a new TV serial for voters. The Gandhi family also wants to keep Priyanka four steps ahead of Rahul Gandhi. Because it fears becoming two centers of power in the Congress. This is why Priyanka has a delayed entry. Priyanka would have been better if she had come first.
Priyanka was seated in the fourth row at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee of Gujarat. A big message was hidden in this picture. I believe that Priyanka should have created an all India face instead of spending it in a difficult state like UP. He should be campaigned in states where his magical personality can benefit the party tremendously. Priyanka could have increased the Congress seats in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as the political environment here increases her acceptance.
Even in South India, Priyanka can draw more crowds than Rahul. But the Congress has trapped Priyanka in 41 seats of UP. For the last 15 years, Priyanka has been promoting Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareli. But they did not lead to a large increase in votes.
Last time the difference of victory of Rahul Gandhi was just one lakh seven thousand votes. Sonia Gandhi’s vote percentage in Rae Bareli fell to 63.79% in 2014 from 72.23% in 2009. This has happened after Priyanka’s election campaign. This time too, a big miracle cannot be expected from him. Yes, with his presence, the Congress is getting more space in the media. That is, the Congress, which was not talked about, has come in the news.
Priyanka has two more big problems. The first is that Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati have not given the Congress a place in the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. Fighting this alliance and BJP together, is beyond the strength of the Congress. The second problem is that with their political entry, Pulwama and Balakot became there and they were not launched properly. At present, the Congress has brought Priyanka into the difficult battle of UP, but did not supply weapons.
The party machinery exerts full force in Rahul’s rally-tour. But during Priyanka’s visit, the party does not give full strength. Neither media nor social media promotes them. Priyanka is yet to form a separate team. This is hurting them. On the day of Priyanka’s launch, Rahul Gandhi had indicated that he was looking at him as the future Chief Minister of UP. This means that the party wants to keep them confined to UP so that they also do the homework of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha.
It is in a way a video game of politics with different elimination rounds and the Chief Minister’s chair after the last round victory. Will Priyanka be able to cross this round? Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has one more option and to contest against Varanasi against Narendra Modi. They might not win. But it can definitely keep Narendra Modi in the competition. It can also make this contest the biggest political contest of this election. Rahul Gandhi has not been able to do this.
(The author is a senior journalist and editor-in-chief of Zee News. Prime time shows are famous for DNA.)