Priyanka Gandhi enters active politics ahead of 2019 polls

With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday (January 23) appointed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East which comprises Lok Sabha seats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

"I am very happy that my sister Priyanka will assist me in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, she is very capable," Rahul Gandhi said. He also said that the decision to appoint Priyanka Gandhi as the general secretary of Uttar Pradesh East will help "initiate new thought in UP and will bring a positive change in UP politics."

Rahul Gandhi later took to Twitter and said: "UP is central to building a new hope filled and compassionate India. The new UP AICC team lead by Priyanka and Jyotiraditya, will herald the dawn of a new kind of politics in the state. We will offer the youth in UP a dynamic new platform to transform the state."

The significant revamp immediately became a point of political debate.

While Congress and its allies welcomed the decision, saying it will be a great success for the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls given Priyanka's profile and the adoration she commands, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mocked it saying that her entry into active politics is an admission from the Congress party that Rahul Gandhi has failed in providing leadership.

PM Narendra Modi took a dig at Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics saying that in the BJP, decisions are not taken considering a person or a family. Modi was interacting with BJP booth workers in Maharashtra when he made the sstatement.

He said, "BJP does not take decisions based on what one person or one family wants, and that's why it is said mostly in the country family is the party, but in BJP party is the family."

PM Modi in interaction with BJP workers from Maharashtra: Hamari party main Koi bhi nirnaya iss baat se nahi hote hain ki ek vyakti ya ek parivaar kya chahta hai, aur isliye kaha jata hai ki desh main zyadatar cases mein parivaar hi party hai, lekin BJP main party hi parivaar hai

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Priyanka Gandhi's appointment shows the Congress party's admission of failure of party chief Rahul Gandhi.

"As the Congress is not being accepted as part of 'mahagatbandhan' in states, a crutch is being searched in the family. Priyanka, who is from his (Rahul's) family, is like a crutch for him," Sambit Patra said.

"Party is the family for the BJP whereas family is the party for Congress. All selections are done in only one family. Somewhere Rahul has failed... Who will be the next after Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi? Only one family! The new India is asking this question."

Congress leaders hailed the decision to appoint Priyanka Gandhi as general secretary of eastern Uttar Pradesh. "We welcome Priyanka Gandhi's appointment as General Secretary . Her entry into active politics will energise cadres and be a catalyst for the rising fortunes of the Congress Party," senior leader Kapil Sibal said.

The Shiv Sena said the Congress will benefit from Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics as she has a good personality and possesses qualities of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.

"It's a good decision by Rahul Gandhi, people of India always had a relation with Gandhi family. Indira Gandhi's legacy will always remain in this country, Congress will benefit from this," Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.

Until now, Priyanka's political forays had been largely limited to appearing at campaign rallies in constituencies held by her family members in the state.

Prashant Kishor, vice president of the JD(U), described her appointment as "one of the most awaited entries in Indian politics". RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav welcomed Priyanka Gandhi's appointment, saying it will not only energise youth and party's cadre but also motivate 50 per cent woman population in politics.

Rahul Gandhi also appointed Jyotiraditya Scindia as general secretary for Uttar Pradesh West and KC Venugopal as general secretary of the organisation. Venugopal has been entrusted with responsibilities of a post which was vacated by Ashok Gehlot who became Rajasthan chief minister after the assembly polls.



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