International desk, Jan 24: Ending years of speculation, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally 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.Congress president Rahul Gandhi has given his sister the charge of poll preparations in eastern Uttar Pradesh in a direct challenge to Chief Minister and BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath.
Though Priyanka is known to have had a say in formalising election strategies and candidates’ list of the Congress in previous elections, she now has a formal title to go along with that role.
“Honourable Congress president has appointed Shrimati Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East. She will be taking charge with effect on first week of February 2019,” the party said in an official release signed by Ashok Gehlot.
The party also appointed senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia as AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh West and shifted Ghulam Nabi Azad to oversee poll preparations in Haryana to make way for the young guns.
Congress leaders say Priyanka Gandhi’s plunge into active party politics will galvanise the ranks to take on the massive dual challenge posed by the BJP and the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
Bringing the 47-year-old on board shows that the Congress is serious in its promise of making the election in UP a triangular contest after the snub from Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.
Soon after the SP-BSP alliance was announced, Rahul Gandhi had said that he has a surprise in store, but few had predicted it will be Priyanka’s political plunge.
It also shows that Congress has come to the realistation that a state as massive as Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha and is the key to power at the Centre, cannot have just one poll in charge.
But Priyanka’s task will not be easy as she has been given charge of a region that has not been a Congress bastion of late. The party had won zero out of 30 seats up for grabs here in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, and only managed to secure the second place in one seat – Gorakhpur.
It would also pit her in a direct contest with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who, as the BJP’s star campaigner, has led the Hindutva wrapped development agenda campaign of the party.
There has also been speculation that Priyanka may contest the coming Lok Sabha election from either Amethi, which is her elder brother Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat, or Rae Bareli, the constituency of Priyanka’s mother and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Even when she had stayed away from any party position, she nursed the two constituencies with Sonia and Rahul.
Source: News Agencies