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After being backroom manager for 26 years, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to finally enter electoral battlefield

If Priyanka sails through the bypolls in Wayanad, which is considered a safe seat for Congress, it would see three Gandhi family members in Parliament.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 19:17 IST

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New Delhi: For the past 26 years, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra remained the backroom manager and campaigner – first for her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul Gandhi and then for the Congress. Now, she is entering the electoral battlefield as her mother hangs her boots.

Priyanka’s electoral entry has been speculated since January 2019 when she became Congress General Secretary with the charge of Uttar Pradesh but she did not fight either 2019 or 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There were also demands that she fight the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. 

While in 2019, it was argued that it was too early but five years later, Priyanka and the party decided that she should not enter the battle arena for tactical reasons. 

One, it could have attracted unwarranted criticism of the Gandhi siblings fighting from family pocket boroughs and two, it would have tied her to one constituency and could have impacted the party's performance.

As her brother Rahul Gandhi chose Rae Bareli as his second seat and the party decided to field Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi after she expressed reservations, Priyanka (52) took the command of the campaign in both the seats and addressed over 100 public meetings in both seats where Congress managed to raise their flags.

And when Rahul decided to vacate Wayanad, the party chose that it was time for her electoral entry. "I am not nervous at all. I am very happy to be able to represent Wayanad. All I will say is that I won't let them feel my brother's absence. I have a good relation with Rae Bareli as I have worked there for 20 years and that relation will never break," Priyanka said.

If Priyanka sails through the bypolls in Wayanad, which is considered a safe seat for Congress, it would see three Gandhi family members in Parliament. Her mother Sonia Gandhi vacated Rae Bareli this time while getting elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

Lok Sabha will also see high-voltage performance from Congress, if she manages victory in Wayanad. Priyanka, a campaigner par excellence, is known for tit-for-tat replies.

During the recent Lok Sabha campaign, Priyanka had taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. When Modi attacked the Congress alleging that it was going to snatch women's 'mangalsutras', she hit back reminding the voters that her mother Sonia sacrificed her 'mangalsutra' for the country.

Priyanka has been handling Rae Bareli and Amethi for Sonia and Rahul since 1999. Sonia first fought from Amethi and then shifted to Rae Bareli in 2004 for Rahul. It was Priyanka who used to campaign for both as they used to criss-cross the country.

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Published 17 June 2024, 19:17 IST

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