As She Turns 47, Decoding Why India Loves to Love Priyanka Gandhi
(This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Priyanka Gandhi’s 47th birthday. It was first published on 12 January 2016.)
“I have said it a thousand times, I am not interested in joining politics,” said Priyanka Gandhi during a BBC interview in 1999.
But slogans like ‘Priyanka lao, Congress Bachao’ never ceased to ring after every poll debacle that the Congress faced over the last decade.
Congress veteran ML Fotedar claimed that Indira Gandhi had an uncanny premonition before her death and had expressed her desire in 1984 to let Priyanka carry forward the family legacy. Priyanka was about 12 years old at that time. On her 45th birthday, here’s an explainer of what makes Priyanka Gandhi popular despite her not being a ‘politician’.
What Makes Her Speeches Memorable?
Although indirectly involved in politics, Priyanka Gandhi proved her prowess several times while campaigning for her mother and brother before elections.
Here are some instances:
The ‘56-inch Seena’ Narendra Modi Taunt
Praising Grandmother and Former PM Indira Gandhi
Priyanka’s Taunt to Cousin Varun Gandhi
(Priyanka’s speech begins from 0:30 mins of the video)
Decided Not to Join Politics in 2009: Priyanka Gandhi to NDTV
Why is Priyanka Constantly Compared to Indira Gandhi?
Priyanka has been time and again compared to her grandmother Indira. Be it her personality, way of talking, body language or simply her sense of style – there seems to be a stark resemblance between the two.
If you watch this interview of Indira Gandhi, you will probably identify the reason behind the comparison.
Rare footage of Indira Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. (The authenticity of the video clip could not be verified by The Quint.)
When Did the Priyanka-Robert Vadra Relationship Emerge?
Priyanka Gandhi first met husband Robert Vadra when she was about 13 years old. She liked him because he treated her like any other person, she said in an interview to Outlook magazine.
Their relationship has come under the scanner several times but Priyanka has remained tight-lipped throughout. However, whenever the Opposition has spoken ill about him, she has always defended him.
How is Priyanka’s Relationship With Brother Rahul?
Priyanka Gandhi has always stood by her brother Rahul, the president of the Indian National Congress. Be it during interviews or public campaigns, she has always extended her support to him.
In fact, in 2014, during the Lok Sabha elections, it was Priyanka who addressed most of the public rallies in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, where he was pitched against BJP’s Smriti Irani and AAP’s Kumar Vishwas.
What’s Priyanka’s Equation With Mother Sonia Gandhi?
Despite the general opinion, her mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi has never signalled her preference for Rahul Gandhi. Although Priyanka has often been seen campaigning in her mother’s constituency Raebareli during elections, she has never spoken about her exclusive role in the party.