New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is looking to play the gender card in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. In her first public speech as a Congress general secretary, in Gandhinagar Tuesday, she began her address with “meri behenon aur mere bhaiyon”, placing women before men in contrast to the routine ‘bhaiyon aur behenon’.
As it went unnoticed, Congress MP Sushmita Dev highlighted it in a tweet: “The speech of @priyankagandhiji in Gujarat stood out for many reasons. I loved the fact that in her address she changed the order most people follow by referring to women before men & not the other way around.”
Priyanka promptly quoted her tweet to add: “…and I thought no one noticed!!”
…and I thought no one noticed!! 😉 https://t.co/neQADGP35y
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) March 14, 2019
Congress leaders interpret it as her move to woo women who constitute over 48 per cent of Indian voters. Her brother, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, had Wednesday announced that if his party came to power, there will be 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs and that the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women would also be enacted.
The previous UPA regime’s attempt to pass the bill had been stalled by a section of regional parties, which supported the government then. In 2014, women voters — the number of women who turned up to vote — outnumbered male voters in 97 constituencies.
A Twitter handle with a message
Priyanka also used her Twitter handle to send out a message by seeking to change the stereotypical image of women politicians. She changed her saree-clad picture on her Twitter handle, replacing it with one in which she is wearing jeans and T-shirt with black boots.
Party colleagues believe it is a subtle message of the assertion of women’s rights.
“She personifies today’s confident woman who does not need to subscribe to anybody’s idea of what she should be,” senior Congress leader Kumari Selja told ThePrint.
“It is a very transformative statement in a society where women are seen as second-class citizens,” said party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
“So her statement makes a point that even women can be ahead and a priority in different aspects of life. It shouldn’t be just viewed from a political prism but socially too.”
BJP MP Harish Dwivedi had earlier taken a dig at Priyanka’s choice of clothes. “For me, or the BJP, Priyanka Gandhi is not an issue,” he had said. “If Rahul Gandhi is a failure, Priyanka is also a failure, Everyone knows that when Priyanka Gandhi is in Delhi, she wears jeans and top but dons saree and sindoor when she comes to the constituencies.”
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