Congress workers in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli distirct on Wednesday asked party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to make Priyanka Gandhi Vadra the chief of the party if it wants to take on a resurgent BJP.
“Rahul bhaiya, Amit Shah ka jawab sirf Priyanka Gandhi… aur koi nahi (Brother Rahul,Priyanka Gandhi is the answer to Amit Shah… no one else),” shouted Congress workers in what is yet another clamour within the opposition party workers demanding that Sonia Gandhi’s daughter be given a larger role within the party.
Last month, as the Congress looked set to lose Maharashtra and Haryana, posters exhorting Sonia Gandhi to rope in her daughter for a key position emerged in the party headquarters in New Delhi. So far, Priyanka has limited her political role to campaigning for her mother and brother in their parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
After the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress indicated that the party wants all three members of the Gandhi family to take leadership roles. A banner put out in Allahabad had read: ‘Congress ka Moon, Priyanka is coming soon’ (The key face of Congress Priyanka is joining politics soon).
There has been speculation for a long time over Priyanka, wife of controversial businessman Robert Vadra, taking up a formal responsibility in the Congress as a general secretary of the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
“Everybody from all over India wants that all members of Gandhi family should come in politics. We want that all three of them should take the leadership role in the party,” party spokesperson Shobha Oza had said in August.
Even the Gandhi family loyalist, Oscar Fernandes, had then said that Priyanka should play a more active role in the Congress. When asked if her entry would not be treated as a vote of no-confidence in party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he had said, “There is no comparison. Rahul is vice-president of the party, Sonia is president. Another member of the Gandhi family would strengthen the party.”
A top Congress leader had also indicated that Priyanka’s role would not be of replacing Rahul but supplementing him in running the party.