An All-India Congress Committee (AICC) functionary closely involved in the state’s affairs said the issue was still under consideration, and any decision can’t be taken in Rahul’s absence.
Rahul, who flew abroad on June 20, a day after he turned 46, is expected to return from his vacation soon.
The exact role for Priyanka in UP will be decided between the two Gandhis. All reports about the Congress declaring Priyanka as the party’s chief campaigner for the UP polls is pure speculation right now. The decision will taken only when Rahul is in the country,” the AICC official said.UP UNIT IN SUPPORT OF PRIYANKA
According to sources close to the Gandhi family, the speculation is the handiwork of the state unit which believes the party can do well in Uttar Pradesh only if Priyanka campaigns extensively. The Congress had won just 22 of the 403 seats in 2007 assembly polls and 28 in 2012. “A weak organisation and infighting among leaders have been two main causes for the poor results,” they said.
UP UNIT IN SUPPORT OF PRIYANKA
According to sources close to the Gandhi family, the speculation is the handiwork of the state unit which believes the party can do well in Uttar Pradesh only if Priyanka campaigns extensively. The Congress had won just 22 of the 403 seats in 2007 assembly polls and 28 in 2012. “A weak organisation and infighting among leaders have been two main causes for the poor results,” they said.Priyanka has so far restricted herself to campaigning in the Gandhi family strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha.
“She will be the star campaigner in UP,” Congress legislative party leader Pradeep Mathur told Mail Today, reflecting a sentiment shared by lakhs of party workers across the state.
HER POPULARITY IN THE STATE WILL HELP
The entry of Priyanka, who is immensely popular in UP as she has a striking resemblance to her grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi, as the lead campaigner for the crisis-ridden Congress could turn around the fortunes of the grand old party, acknowledged party leaders in UP. They recalled how Priyanka’s sharp attacks had given jitters to the then BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Narendra Modi, while she was campaigning in Amethi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
AICC sources, however, said the state unit simply wants a Gandhi to deliver a victory for them and should rather ponder why it has not been able to impress the voters over the past decades.
UP WIN IS IMPORTANT FOR CONGRESS
The Congress, facing attacks on the Gandhis from an aggressive BJP since the party lost the 2014 polls, is desperate for a win in UP, which would send a positive signal across the country.
IMPROVE THE TALLY ON AGENDA
Though winning the state appears to be tall order, party strategists want the Congress to significantly improve its tally in the assembly and then be able to play a role in the formation of the next government.
As Sonia and Rahul were the only two winners in the 2014 national polls from UP which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, the family is taking a keen interest in the assembly polls slated to be held early next year.
CONGRESS GEARS UP
The induction of strategist Prashant Kishor a few months ago and the appointment of party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad as the AICC general secretary in charge of UP recently indicate the Congress is investing its precious resources in the poll-bound state.
Azad had acknowledged that there was overwhelming demand from state leaders for Priyanka to be the face of the UP Congress, or at least that she should campaign for the party. Though a section of the party has concerns that Priyanka appeal to the voters might be limited because of the controversial land deals of her husband Robert Vadra, the general opinion among the rank and file is that her charm would certainly bring rich electoral dividends for the UP Congress.