If Priyanka Gamble Works, Cong Might Be a Big Threat for BJP in UP

By taking charge of Eastern UP, Priyanka Gandhi marked her official entry into active politics.

2 min read
The Congress had said on Monday that party workers want Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to play a “larger role” in politics.

Priyanka Gandhi’s official entry into active politics has created ripples across political lines and has given the jitters to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Priyanka Gandhi, who has been given the charge of Uttar Pradesh East, has helped re-establish the Congress’ clout in the state.

The move, which is being considered as Rahul Gandhi’s masterstroke, has supposedly added to the concerns of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Prestdent Amit Shah, who hopes to bag 75 seats in UP.

Priyanka A Direct Challenge For Modi

The Modi magic has worked wonders for every possible elections in and around UP in the past five years. While Mayawati was wiped out, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s clout remained limited to the Yadav community. Congress could hardly save face bagging only Raibareli and Amethi.

The Opposition’s future was in jeopardy. However, the BJP’s debacle in Phulpur and Gorakhpur bypolls rekindled the state Opposition’s hopes. While the bypolll victories got the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) closer, the Congress’ fate remained unchanged in UP.

However, Priyanka’s entry into the mainstream is now being considered as a direct challenge to PM Modi. While Priyanka did take care of the political campaigns of mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul in Raibareli and Amethi, this is the first time she will be considered a key player against PM Modi.

Why The Charge of Eastern UP?

Priyanka getting the charge, specifically of eastern UP is of political significance. Varanasi being the constituency of PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi plans to corner him on his home turf. Moreover, resurrecting the Congress in eastern UP is another goal, for which, Priyanka is a perfect fit.

What Challenges Will Priyanka Face?

Winning over over eastern UP won’t be an easy task. Here are some challenges that Priyanka faces:

  • Dalit voters have abandoned the Congress
  • Upper class voters, especially the Brahmins favour the BJP
  • The Congress needs more ground level workers in Eastern UP
  • Party unit is weaker in eastern UP compared to the SP, BSP and BJP
  • Infighting among party leaders is at its peak

Capability To Make Political Decisions

Several bypolls and surveys have indicated that PM Modi’s popularity in UP has declined over issues like employment, SC-ST Act, demonetisation, impact of GST on small traders etc. Projecting a strong candidate against Modi in such a scenario might help. Priyanka’s popularity in UP cannot be ignored, especially among the youth and women. Moreover, it will be difficult to challenge Priyanka’s decisions by the party members.

Will The Political Scenario Change?

  • Purvanchal has 26 Lok Sabha seats
  • 25 of these seats were bagged by the BJP in 2014
  • Upper castes comprise of 25-28 percent of eastern UP’s voter base

The Congress hopes to win back the upper class voters with Priyanka’s entry. In 2009, the Congress had bagged 21 of these 26 seats. However, in 2014, the country’s oldest party was reduced to 2 seats. The Congress hopes to resurrect itself in the state, riding on Priyanka Gandhi’s popularity.

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