What Priyanka Gandhi Is Up Against Now That She’s Taken the Plunge
Will Priyanka Gandhi be able to revive the party in Uttar Pradesh?
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman & Vishal Kumar
The Congress has played its “Priyanka Gandhi card” just months before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party has upped its stakes in the battle for the UP heartland by appointing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the general secretary of the Congress in east Uttar Pradesh.
This appointment means that Priyanka Gandhi will be directly handling the party’s campaign in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, and in CM Yogi’s bastion of Gorakhpur.
But there are a number of challenges ahead for Priyanka Gandhi as she takes on the big role.
1. Reviving Congress in Uttar Pradesh
First of all, Priyanka Gandhi will face the challenge of making up for the ground the party had lost in Uttar Pradesh. The eastern part of Uttar Pradesh sends 30 seats to the Lok Sabha, of which Congress didn’t win any seat during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The vote share of the party stood at 6 percent in 2014 while the BJP won 29 seats, with a vote share of 41.2 percent.
The only two seats the Congress won were Amethi and Rae Barelli, which fall in the Awadh region. In fact, the Congress' performance in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections that were held in 2018 was abysmal.
But with Priyanka stepping in the big role, she will face the challenge of reclaiming support for the Congress.
2. Galvanising Workers on The Ground
Another big challenge for Priyanka Gandhi would be to galvanise booth-level workers and party cadre on the ground. Selection of candidates for each seat in her region will be a major decision and a bigger challenge for Priyanka.
Till now, we have only seen her campaign in Amethi and Raebareli, but by most accounts, she is said to be an effective public speaker, which can give the party an edge in urban areas as well.
3. Three-Way Fight in UP
Now the thing that is clear is that the contest for Uttar Pradesh has become a three-way fight between BSP-SP on one side, Modi-Shah on the other, and Rahul-Priyanka on the third end.
But this triangular fight poses a challenge for Priyanka as Purvanchal is a historical stronghold of privileged castes, especially Rajput and Brahmins, who form BJP’s traditional vote bank.
The Congress will have to identify its vote bank to give a tough fight to the ‘Bua-Bhatija’ and Modi-Shah.
The Vadra Factor
BJP has time and again levelled allegations against Priyanka Gandhi's husband Robert Vadra.
With Priyanka taking the political plunge, the Vadra factor could once again take centre stage. What was earlier used as a tactic to embarrass Rahul Gandhi can now be used against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too.
But despite all these challenges, Priyanka's entry into politics has certainly made it clear that the Congress will not leave any stone unturned for the upcoming elections.
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