New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka is set to play a key role in the crucial assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, say insiders after she successfully negotiated an electoral alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party.
This has also put to rest months of intense speculations about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s formal entry into politics.
Signalling her arrival, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter had yesterday negotiated a seat-sharing deal with the Ahilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party – a role which was duly acknowledged by all top run g Congress leaders.
Senior Congress functionaries Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also the in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, separately acknowledged Priyanka’s role in giving the final shape to the alliance with the SP, which at one point had hit a roadblock.
Another low came in the talks when the Congress reportedly sent “political lightweights” like Prashant Kishor to negotiate with the SP leadership.
However, the Congress on Sunday said there were no “political lightweights” and Priyanka Gandhi herself was involved in the talks.
“(It’s) wrong to suggest that lightweights were dealing on behalf of the Congress party. Discussion was at highest level between the UP Chief Minister, Congress’ General Secretary in-charge of UP and Priyanka Gandhi,” Patel, who is political advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, tweeted.
Separately, Azad said that Priyanka Gandhi played a crucial role in forging the alliance with the SP, according to which the Congress would contest 105 seats while the SP will fight on 298 seats.
The SP was initially offering Congress around 90 seats, while the latter was not ready to accept anything less than 120.
The talks hit a roadblock, but the two parties finally pulled off a deal and formally announced an alliance at a joint presser in Lucknow.
Priyanka, Congress sources said, will now campaign extensively in the polls, with Rahul Gandhi as well as separately.
She may also campaign along with Dimple Yadav, the wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The acknowledgement of her proactive role by the Congress party – for the first time perhaps – is significant as it portends the change of guard and a generational shift at the Congress.
However, Priyanka’s work wont stop here as she will also be a part of every strategy of the Congress right upto Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
There has been considerable demand from the party cadre that Priyanka be drafted into the campaign and the party. She has till now limited herself to Amethi and Rae Bareli.