Why Priyanka Gandhi did not fight in the election this time?

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 7:53 am

On Friday afternoon in the dusty town of Rae Barili, it was May sunshine. The local ITI ground was overflowing with people from twelve o’clock, and when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke at around 3:30, the ground filled with about 1,300 people roared!

A short speech of only three and a half minutes, counting 210 seconds. The reason for this limitation is that the meeting was attended by brother Rahul Gandhi, mother Sonia Gandhi and Congress ally Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.

Priyanka did not want to share anyone’s time, but she was the one who received the most spontaneous congratulations. He spoke about their family’s kinship with the soil of Rae Barilly-Amethi, and said something against the propaganda being carried out in the name of the Congress in the name of taking away the Mangalsutra.

In the meeting, however, there were more supporters of the Samajwadi Party with red-green flags than the Congress, and they too burst into a frenzy. It will not be wrong to say that Priyanka got more applause than their leader Akhilesh.

In fact, it goes without saying that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the biggest star campaigner of India’s main opposition party Congress. For Priyanka to hold at least one meeting, or to show her face at least once in a road show – for that, the most requests from all over India come to the Congress headquarters.

For the past 25 years, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been involved in active politics for barely five years, despite campaigning for mother Sonia or brother Rahul during election campaigns. In January 2019, the Congress gave him the post of general secretary to oversee the party’s work in eastern Uttar Pradesh, marking the beginning of his active politics.

But not in the 2019 election, Priyanka Gandhi is not contesting this time either!

Millions of Congress supporters in the country had hoped that Priyanka herself would contest the polls from her old Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat vacated by Sonia Gandhi joining the Rajya Sabha a few months ago, or at least from the nearby seat of Amethi.

Those two seats can be called the average of the Congress, or more specifically, the Gandhi family. Since the sixties, Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi has been the MP for Rae Bareli, although Indira, Sonia and Rahul (and their close family members) have repeatedly won from here. That tradition was broken in 2019, when BJP leader Smriti Irani wrested the Amethi seat from Rahul Gandhi.

To protect the mother’s seat, or to give a face to Smriti Irani, ‘Priyanka Didi’ herself will enter the election contest – thousands of letters, emails or requests were also sent to the AICC with this request.

But putting water to all the speculations, the Congress announced at the very last moment that Rahul himself will not contest from Rae Bareli (as his second seat). And in Amethi too, not Priyanka, the Congress nominated KL Sharma, a long-time election agent and loyalist of the Gandhi family.

Although Priyanka has said that she is and is giving night and day to win over KL Sharma – still the question remains that why is she not fighting it herself?

Many young and old Congress leaders have been describing Priyanka as the ‘Brahmastra’ of the party for a long time. Many people think that she has a great similarity with Indira Gandhi’s face and attitude, that is another big reason for her popularity.

Why Congress did not throw a strong challenge against Narendra Modi by taking this ‘Brahmastra’ directly to war, it is a big fraud in this election in India!

Looking for an answer to that mystery, I attacked the Congress headquarters at 24th Akbar Road in Delhi and Rae Barilly-Amethi, known as the ‘Khastaluk’ of the Gandhi family in Uttar Pradesh.

After the death of grandmother Indira in 1984 and her father Rajiv Gandhi seven years later, during the live telecast of their funerals, the whole of India saw a teenage girl sitting in a sad posture next to a pyre. The girl sometimes held her mother’s hand tightly and comforted her.

Apamar India’s immense love and affection with that fatherless girl since then.

In the nineties, when the girl from India’s so-called ‘first family’ married Robert Vadra, a young man from a very ordinary family, it also increased her popularity among us.

It is true that Robert Vadra has been accused of corruption worth hundreds of crores of rupees much later, but Congress leaders believe that it has not tarnished Priyanka Gandhi’s image even a single drop.

Meanwhile, her mother Sonia Gandhi and elder brother Rahul Gandhi have also entered politics – but despite campaigning for family members, Priyanka Gandhi has not been seen in the larger arena of Congress politics for long.

In 2008, he went to Vellore Jail and held an emotional secret meeting with Nalini Sriharan, who was sentenced to life in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The country came to know about it much later, after the information surfaced that Priyanka did not object to Nalini’s release.

In 1999, when she was campaigning as a mother in Amethi, she had a chance to have a long talk with Priyanka Gandhi one summer morning on the lawn of the guest house at Gauriganj Hospital.

A hundred years ago, he said in words, ‘Our entire family has actually sacrificed for the country. As a result, it is not important what I want personally, I may have to come to politics today or tomorrow!’

Still, it took another twenty years for him to enter active politics for some unknown reason.

Sometimes I saw him campaigning in Rae Barili-Amethi in the 2014 elections.

Not only large public meetings, but also went to small road meetings at the intersections – Amlanabadne entered the huts of the poor and inquired about the well-being of the people of the village. At that time, the road show was not so much as waving hands in the car, but I also saw Priyanka walking for a long time.

But every time the polls were over, Priyanka Gandhi also disappeared from politics.

At least that was the case until five years ago. Finally came to politics, but not yet in the fight for votes!

While Priyanka also excels in Hindi, old-timers find Indira Gandhi in her looks and speech, her delivery is almost inimitable – these have no doubt given her a different kind of popularity.

A section of Congress leaders feel that Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘appeal’ is intact because she has kept a distance from politics for a long time. The use of ‘Brahmastra’ also diminishes its edge – hence their argument that the Congress did not actually make a mistake by using it to ‘raise’ Priyanka.

However, moderate Samajwadi Pati leader Brijsharan Yadav, who came to see Priyanka at the Rae Bareli grounds, suggested again, Turupka ikka vi sahi timing me istemal karna chahye! Khel Khatam Hone Ka Baad Kya Faida!

Simply put – if Priyanka Gandhi is the trump card, then she has to be used at the right time? What’s the point of discarding the card after the game is over?

In other words, why did the Congress not make him a candidate this time, Brijsaran can’t understand anything in his mind!

One can hear at least three or four reasons why Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is not contesting the polls this time around the ‘Congress circuit’ or talking to ordinary Congress workers. BJP leaders and workers, however, will add two or three more!

The explanation that is being heard the most is that if Priyanka is stuck in a Lok Sabha seat, who would go around the rest of the country with the inhuman effort that Priyanka is campaigning in this election? How would he go to distant Morena, Jodhpur or Ludhiana if stuck in Amethi or Rae Barili?

Priyanka Gandhi herself has given a similar argument in an interview given to a couple of channels. And said, he accepted what the party decided.

In the words of Javed Ansari, a veteran journalist from Delhi who has covered the Congress for almost three decades, Priyanka is definitely the biggest ‘impact player’ of the Congress this time. Even Rahul Gandhi does not have the ability to speak in Hindi, the ability to connect with people. If he was caught campaigning in a center at that place, the BJP would have stepped into a trap!

Veteran political analyst Rashid Kidwai, who has been writing about the Gandhi family for a long time, points to another reason behind this.

Sonia Gandhi’s brief and emotional speech from Friday’s public meeting in Rae Barili was the main point – our many years of pulse with the soil here! Today I can’t fight in the election, but I am handing over my son to you!

Immediately, thousands of people erupted into loud cheers – but also soft murmurs of, ‘Priyanka bahen ko vi laiye’!

I mean, we will definitely take the responsibility of winning Rahul, but we also want sister Priyanka among us – that was the demand of the people to Sonia Gandhi!

The people of Rae Barilly-Amethi may feel entitled to have Priyanka Gandhi as their MP, too, given her nearly 65-year-old kinship with the Gandhi family – and that’s not an unfair claim.

But why Priyanka Gandhi is still not being asked to contest at any centre, is indeed a puzzling puzzle.

India’s veteran journalist and popular YouTuber Ajit Anjum has been roaming around Rae Barilly-Amithi for the past few days, I asked him this exact question while leaving the public meeting at ITI ground.

Ajit Anjum laughed and said, to be honest, I don’t even know the real answer! Although some say that Priyanka is actually trying to insult Smriti Irani by winning the family Gomasta without fighting in Amethi. But if you ask me to guess as an observer of politics, I would say that there might be a fear of Priyanka at work somewhere. Or any hesitation or hesitation for any reason! That’s just my guess though, nothing more.

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