Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s name was put up outside a room allotted to her at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, in preps for her debut as general secretary in charge of the party’s national election campaign in a vital half of Uttar Pradesh. The office – at the party office on Akbar Road – is right next to that of her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi , who had used the same room when he was a rookie general secretary reporting to his mother Sonia Gandhi, then party chief.
The nameplate was put up a day before Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with party general secretaries including his sister Priyanka Gandhi. That meeting will be followed by another one on Saturday to discuss the election, due by May, and the party’s campaign strategy.
Priyanka Gandhi, 47, met with Rahul Gandhi after her return from a foreign trip on Monday. She has been tasked with leading the party’s campaign in eastern UP, which includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi constituency and state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s stronghold Gorakhpur.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who will be in charge of the other half of UP, was also present at the meeting held in Rahul Gandhi’s Tughlaq Lane home. Sources say the three and other leaders like Raj Babbar discussed plans for the state that has the highest number of seats in parliament – 80 – and is considered the route to power in Delhi.
Priyanka Gandhi has been given charge of 43 seats in UP, where the Congress has been a marginal player over the past few years.
In the 2014 election, the Congress won only 8.4 per cent votes in Uttar Pradesh and ended up with just two seats, the Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress hopes Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into politics, especially in Uttar Pradesh, will galavanise party workers disappointed by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party’s grand snub. The two parties announced their alliance last month for the national election excluding the Congress, which has been talking of uniting the opposition against the BJP.