In a big step for the Congress, the party has formally inducted Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The daughter of late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and granddaughter of Indira Gandhi is the General Secretary of Uttar Pradesh (East).
Questions have been raised at Gandhi-Vadra's appointment as the General Secretary across the political spectrum.
1. Rahul Gandhi has accepted that he cannot revive the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. It is also an attempt by Rahul Gandhi to save the bastions of Amethi and Raebareli.
2. The Congress party will play on the front foot to cut the possible upper caste consolidation in favour of BJP post 10% quota for poor, and SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan. The Congress has had a traditional vote bank of 6%in Uttar Pradesh, albeit not mutually exclusive.
3. Tacit alliance with SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan
The Congress has signalled its desire to still form an alliance with SP-BSP expecting to be irrelevant in Uttar Pradesh without it. The Priyanka move is also a signal to these parties to get a tacit understanding for a post-poll arrangement.
4. Engaging Top BJP leaders in East UP
Priyanka announcement is more optics, less "zamini". By trying a Priyanka vs Modi contest in East UP the Congress hopes to engage the top BJP brass in its stronghold of East UP. Congress hopes that this will divert attention from West UP, which can give enough wicket to the SP BSP to challenge BJP and increase their tally.
5. Soft launch with the backup plan
Congress is also testing waters for a larger role for Priyanka Gandhi. If the outcome is a higher vote share for Congress in East UP than before, Priyanka will take the credit, while in case of any humiliation defeat Scindia will take the plunge. Only a defeat in Amethi or Rae Bareilly will force Family corridors to admit a Priyanka loss. The old Hindi saying चित भी अपनी और पट भी मेरी।
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