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Daughter of late Indian politician Rajiv Gandhi fuels bigger role buzz

Publication Date : 08-01-2014


In an apparent signal that she might expand her role in the Congress party's campaign and planning for the upcoming general elections, Indian politician Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of late Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandh, held a “strategy” meeting with several senior party leaders at her brother Rahul Gandhi's residence.

Priyanka's participation in the meeting triggered speculation in Congress circles that she might be gearing up to play a larger role on behalf of her party in the run-up to the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul, the Congress vice president, was reported to be not present when the meeting took place as he was said to be out of town. 

The 41-year-old Priyanka has so far kept herself away from active, full-time politics. The only exception has been that during every Lok Sabha elections, she has managed the Congress's electioneering in Rae Bareli - her mother Sonia Gandhi's constituency - and in Amethi, Rahul's constituency.

A slew of senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) leaders - including the Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretaries like Janardan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken and Madhusudan Mistry, the Union minister Jairam Ramesh and the party strategist Mohan Gopal - attended the meeting with Priyanka. It took place ahead of the crucial January 17 New Delhi AICC conclave involving the party leaders and members from across the country.  

The day-long AICC meet will deliberate on the party's policies and strategies for the general elections. It is also expected to ratify the proposal to project the 43-year-old Rahul as the Congress's Prime Ministerial candidate. It will be preceded by a Congress Working Committee meeting a day before.

It is not clear yet whether Priyanka would consider contesting the Lok Sabha election herself this time. It is also uncertain whether she will join Sonia and Rahul in spearheading their beleaguered party's countrywide poll campaign. Her meeting with senior leaders, however, pointed to her willingness to get more involved in party matters. Although the participants of this meeting were tightlipped about its agenda, it is believed that they discussed the Congress election strategies and plans, especially with regard to Gandhi and Rahul's campaigns.

“Priyanka Gandhi is a member of an important political family. Maybe she is not seen as participating in active politics but she is an active member of the Congress for a long time. She has her own views on political issues,” said Dwivedi. “She has been meeting party workers from time to time. What is surprising and new if she has met and discussed with some senior leaders on any issue?” he asked. 

A key reason behind Priyanka's perceived unwillingness to plunge into active politics could be her desire not to undermine Rahul's role in the Congress scheme of things. Her husband, Robert Vadra, a businessman, has also emerged in recent years as a controversial figure who faces allegations of murky business transactions and land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan.



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