National

Priyanka will spearhead Congress campaign for U.P. Assembly polls

After holding months of deliberations over her role in the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has decided to field Priyanka Vadra as the leader of its campaign in the State.

Satya Dev Tripathi, the party spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh, told The Hindu that for the first time, Ms.Vadra will move out of Rae Barelli and Amethi constituencies — where she has campaigned for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the past — and hold about 150 public meetings across the State.

“It will be a mind blowing campaign,” said Mr. Tripathi, “From our calculations she [Priyanka] will cover an average of 2.5 assembly constituencies in the next six months.”

Waiting for the return of its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is currently vacationing abroad, the party is planning to hold a convention in Lucknow in mid July, where Mr. Gandhi will launch the campaign and present Ms. Vadra as its leader.

Reports about her projection as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate kept pouring out after the Congress hired the poll strategist Prashant Kishor as its election campaign manager for Uttar Pradesh in February 2016.

Despite her husband Robert Vadra’s alleged financial misconduct having affected her political mobility for a long time, the Congress neither denied the reports nor agreed to her permanent ascension to the party affairs.

In the last few weeks, the party has changed its strategy on dealing with the BJP’s anti-Vadra rhetoric. Apart from distancing themselves from Mr. Vadra and describing him as a “private person,” the party leaders have started to defend him.

Even in early June, Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke in defence of Mr. Vadra, projecting his case through the prism of what she called the BJP’s “conspiracy” of freeing India from Congress.

A senior Congress leader told The Hindu that Ms. Vadra was in constant touch with Mr. Kishor and his team members.

“She [Priyanka] is even taking interest in discussing district level manifestos that are drafted by Prashant’s team,” the leader said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 8:43:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Priyanka-will-spearhead-Congress-campaign-for-U.P.-Assembly-polls/article14467330.ece

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