Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally took charge as Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East on Wednesday after dropping her husband Robert Vadra at the office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) where he was summoned for questioning in connection with a money laundering case against him.
Making her first public appearance since returning from abroad, Priyanka, the younger sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, also strongly backed her husband.
“I stand by my husband,” she told reporters before entering the Congress party office at Akbar Road near 10 Janpath, where her mother, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, resides. Priyanka will now plan the Congress strategy for 48 parliamentary constituencies in UP east.
Slogans such as “Priyanka you fight on, we are with you!” rented the air around the party office as Priyanka made her way through a gaggle of mediapersons who fired a volley of questions at her.
Inside her office, which is adjacent to the room of her brother at the party headquarters, Priyanka met party workers.
She was appointed as general secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East on 23 January by Rahul Gandhi.
Priyanka is scheduled to attend her first official meeting involving all Congress general secretaries and in-charges of various states on Thursday, which has been convened by Rahul to plan the strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.
At the time of writing, her husband, Robert Vadra, was being questioned by the ED at the probe agency’s headquarters in Jamnagar House at the mouth of the India Gate circle.
A Delhi court directed Vadra to cooperate with the investigative agency. The case pertains to allegations of money laundering in a purchase of London-based property costing 1.9 million pounds.
The court had last week granted interim bail to him till 16 February and asked him to join probe by appearing in person on 6 February in this case.
Ahead of Vadra’s appearance, the BJP took a jibe at the Congress over a poster depicting Vadra with Rahul and Priyanka.
“Posters of two criminals have been put in front of Congress office. Both are out on bail – Criminal no.1, Rahul Gandhi, in connection with National Herald case and criminal no.2, Robert Vadra, is to appear before ED today in connection with money laundering case,” said BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra at a press conference in New Delhi.
The Congress, on the other hand, has dubbed Vadra’s questioning “vendetta politics by the BJP”.