Updated December 24th, 2023 at 18:05 IST
As Priyanka Gandhi gets replaced by Avinash Pande, a look back at her track record in UP
Priyanka Gandhi was replaced by Avinash Pande the former Rajya Sabha MP, who was the head of Jharkhand Congress.
The Congress on December 23 appointed Avinash Pandey as the party's General Secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, pushing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into the back seat. After assuming power in September 2020, Priyanka had multiple chances to bring Congress back to power in India's biggest state but this proved too-good-to-be-true for someone who was once endorsed as 'Doosri Indira.'
As a result of her unsatisfactory performance, the Congress leadership instead decided to go with Pande, the former Rajya Sabha MP, who was the head of Jharkhand Congress. Pande promised to build upon the legacy of Priyanka. But as the record suggests, she failed to prepare the groundwork leaving a mammoth task ahead for her successor.
A look at Priyanka Gandhi's performance
Priyanka was appointed the General Secretary for east Uttar Pradesh in 2019. In the same year, her brother and MP Rahul Gandhi lost his traditional seat from Amethi to BJP's Smriti Irani in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by a margin of over 55,000 votes.
Rahul made his Parliamentary debut from Amethi in 2004 but failed to protect his constituency as Priyanka failed to garner enough votes for him.
Congress faced another humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP in the 2022 assembly elections when Priyanka was the Congress head in UP. Instead of increasing Congress' vote share in UP, it fell from 12% in 2012 to a little over 2% in 2022 while the BJP's vote share increased from 15% to over 41% in ten years.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won 255 seats out of 403 and became the first party to win two consecutive terms since 1985.
The Congress party, on the other hand, was reduced to just two seats (Rampur Khas and Phephna) after losing five from the previous election.
What ensured Priyanka's defeat?
Several factors contributed to Priyanka's and ultimately the Congress party's failure, one of which the voters not buying her sudden projection as a devout Hindu. Moreover, she also backed events and influences working against the BJP to either defeat or cut into the votes of the saffron party. Her participation to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitators, anti-farm laws crowd and targeting UP CM Yogi Adityanath over the Hathras gang rape case.
In order to gain support of female voters, she even launched the 'Ladki Hoon Lad Sakti Hoon' campaign all the while demanding CM Adityanath's resignation over the rape case. However, this plan too failed as three poster girls of the campaign itself ended up joining the BJP ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.
The BJP's focus on women empowerment instead of ensuring Congress party's defeat also was another reason for the grand old party's failure. While Congress was busy cornering CM Adityanath, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana, Mission Shakti and Poshan Abhiyan among others had already made women a strong voter base for the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi, however, is also held accountable for the loss in Amethi as he is said to have forgotten the constituency after his 2014 win.
Published December 24th, 2023 at 18:05 IST