Behind the scenes, Priyanka looked after stage management for the plenary session, cleared the list of speakers, a mix of veterans and youngsters.
New Delhi: While Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi were at the centrestage at the Congress plenary session Saturday, tearing into the Modi government’s policies, it was Priyanka Gandhi who was handling the stage management.
Party sources said for the past three days, Priyanka has been holding regular discussions with senior Congress leaders at the Congress war room at 15 Gurudwara Rakabganj Road to make the two-day plenary session a fruitful exercise.
She finalised the list of names of those who would conduct the session being held at the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium in the national capital. She also cleared the list of speakers, a mix of veterans and youngsters.
The speakers were asked to present their speech, which was fact-checked by Priyanka herself, and she made her suggestions wherever needed, the sources said.
Priyanka also ensured that Rahul’s instruction — that youngsters in the party should be allowed to moderate the session — is adhered to.
This was for the first time that young leaders such as Nadeem Javed, Sushmita Dev and Ragini Nayak were given a chance to conduct the session along with senior leader Mukul Wasnik.
In the past, party veterans like Janardan Dwivedi or Ghulam Nabi Azad had conducted AICC sessions.
At 11 pm on 16 March, Priyanka came to Indira Gandhi Stadium to give a final touch to the preparations. All those who were supposed to moderate the session were asked to do a final on-stage rehearsal in her presence. Later, she made some changes in the order in which the leaders would speak on stage, the sources said.
On hearing that Priyanka had reached the venue, a number of Congress leaders also showed up there. Priyanka is believed to have told them that only those who have certain stage responsibilities should be there.
Priyanka is learnt to have left the venue at 5 in the morning only to return four hours later, at 9 am. She never came on the stage when the session was on Saturday and was watching the entire proceedings on a TV screen sitting in the VIP lounge.
She left the venue around 2.30 pm with Congress strategist Sam Pitroda.
Once the session ended, Priyanka was back at the venue at 7.30 pm to finalise Sunday’s programme. She is believed to have instructed the co-ordinators to ensure that all speakers finish their speeches in the time allotted to them.
Several speakers went past their designated time Saturday and many party workers left the venue even before the session got over.
Adhering to the schedule is something Priyanka has stressed upon so that Congress president Rahul Gandhi can make his concluding speech at 3.30-4 pm Sunday, the sources said.