Priyanka enthuses workers, pundits skeptical

Priyanka enthuses workers, pundits skeptical

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra waves to her supporters during a roadshow in Lucknow on Monday. REUTERS

Septuagenarian Ram Sakal has travelled all the way from Kushinagar district, about 325 km from here, only to have a glimpse of newly appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who, he thinks, "resembles" former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

"Priyanka looks exactly like Indira Gandhi...she has all the qualities, which are needed to become a popular leader...look at the crowd," Ram Sakal, who finds it extremely difficult to stand amid pushing and jostling, said.

"Only she can revive the Congress in Uttar Pradesh," he told Deccan Herald as Priyanka's specially designed bus passed through Alambagh area in the city.

Nirmala Paswan, who hails from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, also echoes a similar sentiment. "We women see in Priyanka someone who can empower us in a real sense," Nirmala said.

A woman, who came from Lakhimpur Kheri district, said that she had not even taken water though she had been standing on the road waiting for Priyanka for the past three-four hours.

"I will drink water only after seeing Priyanka," she said.

While even Priyanka's opponents agreed that she had been able to enthuse the party workers, the political pundits remained sceptical if this enthusiasm would get converted into votes also.

"UP is a large state...Priyanka does not have much time...Congress has no organisation in the state...she has a very tough task at hand," said political analyst J P Shukla.

Shukla said that a Congress revival in the state might "adversely impact" the SP-BSP alliance more than the BJP as there could be a division in the Muslim votes.

Priyanka would be meeting party workers from different Lok Sabha constituencies from the eastern region in the next few days to elicit their views on the potential candidates.

The Congress could win only two seats in 2014 LS polls and seven in the 2017 Assembly elections.