How Priyanka Gandhi’s Entry in Politics Was Covered by Media
A day after Congress made the announcement that Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of ex-party President Sonia Gandhi and sister of current President Rahul Gandhi, would be entering the world of active politics, the news exploded across the front pages of India’s top daily newspapers on Thursday, 24 January.
With almost all the newspapers calling Priyanka’s entry into active politics a “strategic move” for the party’s plans in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, here’s what the front page and the editorials of national dailies say.
The Indian Express:
The Indian Express’ headline ‘Rahul gets sister organisation’ focuses on how this is a Gandhi-family’s "organisational” strategy for campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
The report states that with Priyanka teaming up with Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was second contender to the Chief Ministerial throne in Madhya Pradesh and will, thus, definitely be given a key organisational role as compensation, will work well for the party, with Priyanka focusing on Eastern UP and proving a challenge to both Modi and Yogi and Scindia concentrating his efforts to the west.
The newspaper details on this strategy in another report, claiming that Priyanka’s entry into active politics has strong implications for the party in Uttar Pradesh as it shows that “the Congress is serious about its fight in the state, against the BJP and in the face of the SP-BSP combine, so serious that it has risked its biggest trump card; two, it has told the voter outside UP that the stakes for Rahul have gone up with another Gandhi at the Congress’s high table.”
Hindustan Times’ front-page described Priyanka Gandhi in a “hands-on” mode after years of speculation, which it claimed would be a “game-changer” for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.
Priyanka’s ascent into active politics as All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in eastern Uttar Pradesh, with Scindia being made in-charge of the left, is the party’s determination to change its fate in the state, which has been in a bad state since the rise of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BS) in the state, the report claimed.
The newspaper also called her a “formidable campaigner”, chronicling instances from the past, where her “firmly soft” and “softly firm” speech and charisma managed to win her the audience’s favour and gain her one up on her political opponent. Her entry would gain her a “respectable space” in the anti-BJP lineup in Uttar Pradesh, it added.
The Times of India:
The Times of India report calls the Congress’ move to induct Priyanka into active politics a “novel experiment”, as with the former looking after the party’s interests in eastern UP and Jyotiraditya Scindia focusing on the west, there is now the likelihood of “two state chiefs”.
It also said that her entry would align Congress in position of the “third pole”, especially as eastern UP also houses Modi’s Varanasi constituency and Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur home-turf. With Priyanka’s entry, the report claims, the Congress disrupts the straight battle between the BJP vs SP-BSP alliance, despite Rahul Gandhi’s claim that the move wasn’t a “hostile” one against the latter.
Pitching Priyanka’s name into the “UP dangal” is a “gamble”, it claims, but also comes at a good time for the party, after its win in the three BJP-ruled states.
DNA went the filmy route for its headline on Priyanka, calling her ascent into active politics “Dynasty Season 5.2”– with a picture of both her and party President Rahul Gandhi – the fifth generation of the same family working in the field.
The report offers three reasons for why it believes Priyanka was "roped in” to the position of AICC general secretary in-charge of Eastern UP: since she is the only Congress leader other than Rahul and Sonia who “holds sway” in the party; will help Sonia who’s health hasn’t been top notch, “share the campaign burden” and can use her “suave, charismatic” personality challenge the BJP in the “bastion” of “heavyweights” like UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
Using the iconic dialogue from “Uri: The Surgical Strikes” with a one significant word addition, The Telegraph headlined Priyanka’s decision to enter the world of politics as a “well thought-out plan” by her brother Rahul Gandhi.
The report claims that Priyanka as a AICC general secretary in-charge in Eastern UP will not only “enthuse” the Congress workers in that region, but is also an indication that the Gandhi family’s decision to “throw all its resources into the 2019 battle”.
The newspaper also called her a “spitting image” of her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and said that her electoral talents should not be “ignored or taken lightly”. Priyanka’s entry would give the Muslim voters in UP, who were vary of Mayawati as she had aligned with the BJP in the past, another choice to consider, it added.
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