Now Priyanka has launched herself in active politics of Congress by actively helping the party in clinching a deal with Samajwadi Party. It was Ahmad Patel, Political Secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who declared through a tweet that heavyweight like Priyanka Gandhi is in touch with the UP CM Akhilesh to facilitate alliance between the two parties. Along with Priyanka, Ahmad Patel named Gulam Nabi Azad, General Secretary of Congress, who is also in charge of Uttar Pradesh.
Later on Mr Azad informed the media that the deal with Akhilesh was pulled off because of Priyanka. Sonia, too, played a role, but she was not named deliberately in order to highlight Priyanka. The tweet of Mr Patel and statement of Mr Azad are nothing but the formal launch of Priyanka Gandhi into the active politics of Congress. It is true that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is not new to politics. She used to campaign actively for her brother and mother in Amethi and Raibareli respectively during Lok Sabha elections and also during Assembly elections she used to be actively campaigning for the Congress candidates contesting from the Assembly Constituencies falling with the two Lok Sabha constituencies stated above.
But, the Congress leaders and workers of Uttar Pradesh used to request her to campaign outside the pocket borough of Gandhis as well, but she never obliged them. At times, there was a demand for her to enter into active politics of the Party and handle the party affairs, but she never budged before them. No one knew the actual reason for showing cold shoulder to politics by Priyanka, but political analysts used to believe that Sonia and Rahul do not want to see her handling the affairs of the party to avoid any confusion regarding the role and status of Rahul. Rahul has been declared successor of Congress.
Priyanka herself never showed any inclination to join Congress actively and challenge the position of Rahul. She was content with her campaign in Amethi and Raibareli and never ventured outside it. Many Congress workers who showed enthusiasm to invite Priyanka to take over party responsibility were ousted from the party and even senior leaders like Digvijay Singh used to be very careful when answering any question regarding the entry of Priyanka in Congress politics. The reason was simple. Any desire of seeing Priyanka into Congress would have been interpreted as being anti Rahul.
Now Priyanka Gandhi has taken for herself important role in the party, her launch into active politics is now official. Now two questions are doing the rounds in political circle. First is about her relations with Rahul. How will their relations evolve inside Congress? It is true that after Sonia Gandhi, Rahul has emerged the unchallenged leader of Congress and there in no choice to them, who do not like him. But after the entry of Priyanka they have another choice and there is danger of emergence of two power centres in the party. If there are two centres, there is fear of collision between them. That is the reason, Priyanka was being kept and she was keeping herself at safe distance.
But, the decline of party has been continuous since the appointment of Rahul as Vice President of the party. Congress suffered humiliating defeats in Assembly Elections held in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 Lok Sabha election Congress got a defeat, which was not foreseen even by its bitter critics. Though Sonia is the President of Party, for all practical purposes Rahul has become the ultimate decision maker. He along with Sonia Gandhi accepted the responsibility for the defeat, but could not tolerate even positive criticism from his fellow Congress leaders. He refused to learn from the defeat and it resulted in one defeat after another in almost all Assembly Elections held after 2014. In Delhi Assembly election, Congress could not win even a single seat. In Haryana, it was relegated to third place. Even in Maharashtra it came third after BJP and Shiva Sena. Bihar gave some reasons for Congress leaders to smile, where it could increase its tally with the help of Lalu and Nitish.
Now in Uttar Pradesh party was facing extinction like Delhi. In Lok Sabha election the victory of Rahul and Sonia was made possible by Mulayam Singh, who did not field his candidates against them and his party men help the Congress leaders to win.
In the run up to Assembly Elections almost all pre poll opinion surveys were predicting that Congress may not get even 10 seats, if it fought alone. In this scary situation, Congress could get 105 seats under an alliance with Samajwadi Party and it was made possible only by Priyanka Gandhi, who established personal rapport with Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh. This is a decent number and Congress can hope improving its 2012 tally of victory, which were just 29.
It is true, Congress has good number of seats in bargain with Akhilesh, but depending on other help is one thing and improving on its own is quite different and more important. Only time will say, whether Priyanka is able to arrest the decline of the party.
-Contributed by Kriti
Picture Credits: livemint.com