With the Congress announcing her appointment as a party official, Priyanka Gandhi finally emerges from the shadow of her mother Sonia and brother Rahul.
On Wednesday, the Congress party ended years of speculation by announcing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s formal entry into politics with her appointment as general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East.
The move, which comes weeks before the 2019 general elections, reflects the Congress’s intent to go full throttle in the state.
In her assignment, Gandhi takes over the politically crucial state — a Congress bastion till the mid 1980s — from the first week of February.
The area Priyanka will take charge of is quite significant as her campaign will centre on east UP, home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, and CM Yogi Adityanath’s stronghold and former parliamentary seat, Gorakhpur.
So far, Priyanka has restricted her political role to the constituencies of her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) and mother Sonia Gandhi (Raebareli).
Priyanka Gandhi, who turned 47 on January 12, will assist her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Hindi heartland state, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the largest of any state in the country.
Besides Priyanka Gandhi, Madhav Rao Scindia’s son Jyotiraditya Scindia has been appointed general secretary for Uttar Pradesh West.
Priyanka and Jyotiraditya replace Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been appointed AICC general secretary for Haryana, where the party is divided into factions.
During the years of speculation over Priyanka’s foray into politics, mother Sonia maintained she would join the fray if and when she decided to do so. There is talk now that Priyanka may contest the Rae Bareli seat, which is currently represented by Sonia, who is the UPA chairperson.
Priyanka was earlier actively involved in key decision making in the party along with her mother and brother, including the selection of new chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recently.
She was also instrumental in initiating the entry of Manpreet Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu in the Punjab Congress.
The mother of two is married to Robert Vadra, who is embroiled in a land row in Haryana and Rajasthan and is facing probes by the Enforcement Directorate.
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