With 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than a year away, all the parties from Congress to the small regional parties are hoping to give a tough fight to BJP. Various permutations and combinations are being done to win seats and to stop the BJP from sweeping elections as it had done in 2014. The Congress is not just fighting to win this time but is also fighting to maintain its relevance in the Indian political scene and it seems like they are willing to try every possible measure to maintain their position. Hindi media has remained abuzz with the news that the Congress is likely to field Priyanka Vadra Gandhi from Raebareli seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is important to point out that the present UPA chief Sonia Gandhi is the Member of Parliament from Raebareli, the Congress and its allies are hoping that Sonia Gandhi gives up her seat for her daughter. This issue according to some media houses is one of the important ones being discussed in the meeting of the Congress Working Committee which is scheduled to take place today.
Raebareli has been a stronghold for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and it has always been easy pickings for members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Congress is hopeful that if Priyanka takes on the seat, Sonia would fight from a different one which would increase the influence of Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka Gandhi’s win from Raebareli would also ensure another prime ministerial candidate from the ranks of Congress. It is an important point considering that from there countless leaders amongst the opposition faction emerged who have openly or subtly challenged Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for the PM post. Priyanka Gandhi till date has managed to steer away from active politics and has only campaigned for her mother and brother and some other Congress leaders.
While it0 is uncertain as to which constituency Sonia Gandhi would be asked to fight elections from, Rahul Gandhi is all set to retain his nomination from the Amethi seat. Amethi and Raebareli apart from being Congress strongholds have also been a favourite of the Nehru-Gandhi family. BJP had tried to make inroads into both the constituencies and had managed to get satisfactory votes in the municipal and assembly polls.
While Rahul Gandhi and Congress have laid bare that they are ready to support any candidate to ensure BJP’s loss in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, they must be unwilling to let loose the grip on the PM chair anytime soon. Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into active politics and her win from Raebareli would present a powerful candidate for the Congress.
There is also an off chance that with BJP making a dent in Raebareli, Priyanka Gandhi who is largely apolitical anyways could be used as a sacrificial lamb. But then again her candidature itself would raise serious doubts owing to her husband Robert Vadra’s scams and shady past. It could prove to be a brilliant move or a suicidal one considering how they choose to bring Priyanka to the front and remove Sonia from a seat which she has held on to for a long time.