The Shiv Sena Wednesday said the Congress will benefit from Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into politics as she has a good personality and possesses qualities of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.
The remark from the BJP ally came on a day when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was appointed the Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (East), a politically significant move ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections marking her formal entry into politics.
Her appointment was cleared by Congress president and brother Rahul Gandhi who made it obvious that the appointment of his sister was part of plans to rebuild the party’s base in the state.
Talking to PTI, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said the Congress has strong reasons to rejoice because Priyanka Gandhi, who was so far on the periphery, will now be a part of active politics.
“The party will benefit from her good personality, her ways of presenting herself and her ability to strike a chord with the voters. She has the qualities of her grandmother,” she said.
“While going out to vote, people will see Indira Gandhi in Priyanka,” Kayande added.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said Priyanka’s formal induction into the party will enthuse party workers and the Congress will reap “special benefits” in Uttar Pradesh.
“The SP-BSP alliance will not be affected much because they have a fixed vote bank of Yadavs, Dalits and Muslims. However, her (Priyanka’s) clout will charge up the party workers,” he said.
Malik said if the Congress plays intelligently using Priyanka’s charm, the party will easily win 20-21 seats in UP, repeating its performance of 21 seats in the 2009 general elections.
Rahul Gandhi also named Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia the party general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (West).
The twin appointments mean the Congress party will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls in the state under Priyanka and Scindia.
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.
It was in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections that she appeared for the first time on a Congress poll platform. It was Priyanka’s clarion call to the electorate of Rae Bareli that led to the defeat of her uncle Arun Nehru (contesting on a BJP ticket) at the hands of Gandhi family loyalist Satish Sharma.
(With PTI inputs)