Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday made it clear that the appointment of his sister Priyanka Gandhi as General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East was part of plans to rebuild the party’s base in the state and said the Congress will cooperate with the BSP and SP to defeat the BJP in whatever ways possible.
Asserting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was rattled, Gandhi said it was up to Priyanka Gandhi to decide whether or not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“I fully respect Akhileshji and Mayawatiji. They have done their alliance and they are not our enemies. We are fighting together. If remaining parties want to join us, it is welcome,” he told reporters after the appointment of Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia was announced.
“Their (SP and BSP) ideology is very much similar to that of the Congress. And we have to defeat the BJP in the state. Wherever cooperation is possible, we will cooperate to defeat the BJP. We can work together,” he said.
“… But we have to make our own space to spread the Congress ideology and for that it (appointment of Priyanka and Scindia) is a big step. I am fully confident that they will work to bring a positive change.
“I have given them a mission in Uttar Pradesh to realise the ideology, which is our ideology, for the poor and weaker sections,” he said.
Asked if Priyanka Gandhi would contest the Lok Sabha elections, he replied: “It depends on her. We are not going to play on the backfoot. We have not played on the backfoot in Gujarat also. We do politics for people. So we will play on the front foot.
“I am fully confident that Priyanka and Scindia will give Uttar Pradesh what the state needs and what the youth of the state need.”
Gandhi said that with the appointment of Priyanka Gandhi, a new thinking will grip Uttar Pradesh politics.
“I am happy that Priyanka, who is very capable, will work with me and I am personally very happy,” he said, adding that Scindia too was a dynamic youth leader.
Attacking the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said: “We want to tell the people of Uttar Pradesh that you people have wasted a lot of time by giving the BJP the mandate. The BJP has destroyed Uttar Pradesh.
“Remove them, we will give a new direction to the state and will bring it to the number one position. I am not talking about caste or religion but with you we want to fulfil your dreams. The BJP is rattled.”
Priyanka will take charge in the first week of February. Her appointment comes as a major challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM and BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath in their home ground.
Priyanka has always had a say in strategising electoral campaigns and preparing the candidate list for the Congress. Except for 2017 UP elections, Priyanka in years before, had spent days on the campaign trail, meeting people and even directing election strategies. She has campaigned for Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli, respectively.