oppn parties Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Battle Ready

News Snippets

  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Battle Ready

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-01-24 18:12:28

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Priyanka Gandhi Varda has finally taken the plunge. She has joined active politics and brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi has promptly appointed her as the general secretary of the party, in-charge of UP (East), the home turf of state chief minister Yogi Adityanath which includes Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Modi.

Priyanka has always been on the fringes of politics and has been assisting Sonia and Rahul ever since the death of Rajiv Gandhi. This is just the official formalization of her role. But since it comes at this point in time, it confirms several things. The first is the fact that having been reduced to fewer than 50 seats in the 2014 elections by the double strike of a dominant BJP and the rising regional parties, the Congress has recognized that the coming elections are going to be a do-or-die battle for the party. Hence, it wishes to use everything in its armoury to try and win the battle. Further, in UP especially, the party has recognized that it has its back to the wall after the SP-BSP combine has ignored it totally. It also underlines the fact that the party has chosen to ignore the dynastic rule barbs which Modi throws at it and has inducted the only remaining member of the family in the battle.

But having Priyanka in the party can be a double-edged sword. While the party can hope to get the advantage of the Gandhi name, it is doubtful whether the name carries positive vibes any more with the largely young voters that comprise the electorate now. Then, with her husband Robert Vadra accused of having a hand in many land scams in Haryana, it would immediately make her the target. Modi has been going after the son-in-law off and on. Now these attacks will become more pronounced and personal.

Rahul has said that Priyanka is very capable and hardworking. Further, the Gandhi name still opens many doors in officialdom. In that sense, Priyanka can be an asset on the ground, especially in the high profile UP (East) area. But with the Congress workers in UP (except perhaps in Amethi and Rae Bareilly) totally down and out, Priyanka will have to use a magic wand to invigorate them and provide any kind of fight in the three-cornered contests that are likely to happen in the state, let alone win seats for the party. With Congress getting just 7.53% of the popular votes in 2014 elections and with nothing on the ground suggesting a renewed support for the party, Priyanka is in for a long haul.