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Won't Play on The Back Foot: Rahul Gandhi Gives a Glimpse Into Priyanka’s Style of Politics

The Congress chief said he was “very excited and happy” to work with Priyanka Gandhi, who took the political plunge on Tuesday after years of speculation.


Updated:January 23, 2019, 5:27 PM IST
Won't Play on The Back Foot: Rahul Gandhi Gives a Glimpse Into Priyanka’s Style of Politics
Illustration by Mir Suhail

Lucknow: Welcoming his sister into politics, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Priyanka’s appointment as the party’s poll manager in eastern UP has made the BJP “nervous” because she is a capable and hardworking leader.

Priyanka Gandhi, 47, after years of speculation, finally took the political plunge on Tuesday. The Congress chief accepted that spearheading the campaign in UP, the most electorally crucial state, would be a challenge for her but said he was “very excited and happy” to work with her.

Asked whether the political entry was a precursor to a poll ticket for Priyanka as well, Rahul remained tight-lipped. “It is up to Priyanka if she wants to. My main point is we won't play on the back foot - be it UP or Gujarat or anywhere,” he told reporters in Amethi, where he was touring when the party made the announcement.

Gandhi also praised Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been given the charge of leading the party’s election campaign in western Uttar Pradesh.

“Jyotiraditya is also a very dynamic leader," he said. "The message to the people of Uttar Pradesh is that BJP has destroyed it and we will give you new direction. We want to use these two youth leaders in UP to make it the number one state," he added.

He said he was sending both Priyanka and Jyotiraditya with a mission – to propagate the party’s ideology.

Priyanka’s political plunge was met with cheers by the party cadre across Uttar Pradesh, and particularly in Rae Bareli, where workers burst crackers to celebrate. It also gave a boost to Rahul’s own visit to Amethi, where posters of “Amethi ke MP, 2019 ke PM” dotted the streets.

The Congress also welcomed the new appointments saying the party was now “all fired up and ready to go.”

Priyanka's appointment comes only a few days after the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party announced their grand alliance.

Congress’s Rae Bareli MLA, Aditi Singh, a close associate of Priyanka, said that the move is expected to be a great boost for the female and youth electorate in the state. “This will definitely be a great push for the females of the state who can connect with Priyanka Ji,” Aditi Singh told News18.com

Several other Congress leaders expressed support for the move and said the 47-year-old will be able to galvanise the ranks to prepare for the massive dual challenge posed by the Bharatiya Janta Party and the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress has said it will contest on all 80 seats in UP in the Lok Sabha elections and has planned a series of rallies by Rahul Gandhi in the next month.

On his Amethi visit, he will pay homage to martyrs at Shaheed Smarak Sthal, attend the oath-taking ceremony of the local lawyers' association at Gauriganj Collectorate and meet the local gram pradhans in Tiloi’s Fursatganj.

Following this, he will meet the grieving family of the former block pramukh in Musafirkhana before finally reaching Bhuemau Guest House where Sonia Gandhi is also expected to visit. The mother-son duo are expected to fly back to Delhi on January 24.

(With inputs from Qazi Faraz Ahmad)

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