Priyanka Vadra Gandhi, a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family and wife of controversial business mogul, Robert Vadra was appointed as the General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East amidst much fanfare. The party, keeping up with the sole ideology of dynastic politics envisaged this move to help achieve wonders in the most politically crucial state of the country. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to take place quite as expected. From her lack of candidature arising from insecurity, to using children in propaganda against PM Modi, Priyanka’s election campaign has been a huge blunder one might even say the worst in Indian history. Being viewed as the ‘Brahmastra against PM Modi’, she was brought in during desperate times when Rahul Gandhi had all but removed Congress’ presence from the Indian political scenario. Unfortunately for the grand old party, instead of reviving the party’s fortunes, Priyanka has joined hands with her brother on the path to self-destruction.
She is the example of the rare Gandhi who had been isolated from active politics for almost her entire life. Under Rahul Gandhi’s substandard leadership, the party is facing its lowest since formation. Distraught at the thought of not producing a Prime Minister from this generation of the Gandhi family, Congress had suddenly realised that Rahul Gandhi isn’t the sole heir for the seat. Priyanka Gandhi was the Congress ‘fresh face’, with some political experts hailing her as the next big thing in Indian politics, arguing that she would be a force to reckon with in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Yet, in the few short months of Priyanka’s appointment, she has already proved that the media, public and the experts could not be further from the truth. Her appointment as general secretary was made amidst alliance talks in UP with SP and BSP; ‘talks’ would be the incorrect terminology as it was more of Congress ‘imploring’ Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Her appointment had one major goal to accomplish- to include Congress in the UP mahagathbandhan and devising a favourable seat sharing system. However, the mahagathbandan was clear on its stance and irrespective of the Priyanka’s ‘fabled charms’, they had categorically refused to let Congress in. Although, out of pity for the party, they have not fielded candidates in Amethi and Rai Bareili, the only 2 remaining Congress seats in UP. Priyanka’s ‘political acumen’ had therefore, proved to be completely futile.
Not wanting to be completely useless to the party, Priyanka thereafter set her sight on Varanasi, fueling speculations of her candidature. Varanasi, being a symbol of Hinduism, holds immense religious significance. Moreover, PM Modi, the current Lok Sabha member from that seat will be re-contesting from Varanasi for 2019 elections as well whose popularity has only increased in the region. Varanasi is already quite crucial by the virtue of being situated in UP. The geographical significance, coupled by the cultural and political importance, led the constituency to be one of the most vital seats in the country and thus would have been prestigious enough for the “Gandhi stature”. However, at the last moment, the party grew fearful and decided not to contest her. Been seen as an alternative to Rahul Gandhi, she was way too important for the party to be fielded from a constituency where the chances of her being the 2nd runner up are quite high. Not only would her political career be over before it began; but, the party will face major embarrassment, which they already get enough of, through Rahul Gandhi’s tactics.
After proving herself to be a complete failure in terms of alliance and candidature, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra moved to campaign mode. Priyanka Gandhi has been travelling all over UP and speaking to various people in an attempt to woo the public. This includes indulging in ad hominem attacks against Smriti Irani, PM Modi, and other BJP leaders. Due to these tactics, her campaign seems to be having a negative effect rather than a positive one. Such is the extent of the negativity that a complaint has been forwarded by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to the EC after she was shown in a video, allegedly condoning abuses to PM Modi by children. The NCPCR had earlier directed that none of the political parties will use children for the purposes of the election campaign. Not only has Priyanka Gandhi violated this direction, but the actual content of the video is what will make people shudder. In the video, in Priyanka’s presence, the children were shouting abuses directed at PM Modi. Moreover, very recently, she has faced wrath from the citizens for garlanding a statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri, a move which the public objected to since her husband Robert Vadra and her family is involved in corruption. Over and above that, her family has never honoured the erstwhile Prime Minister of the country and hence the citizens viewed this gesture for what it is- a façade for garnering votes.
After facing a brutal backlash on all spheres of the elections, including, alliance, candidature, and campaigning; Priyanka Gandhi decided to stick to her job as the general secretary of UP East. This meant choosing candidates who had the caliber to be elected. On that front, instead of choosing candidates with electoral chances, Priyanka has chosen them on the basis of their ability to cut a BJP candidate’s votes. She stated that she doesn’t care if her candidate is elected or not, all she cares about is that the vote share of BJP must be affected. Essentially, her aim is to aid the SP-BSP mahagathbandhan, even after they refused to let Congress in.
After her fruitless performance in all the spheres of an election campaign, it has been proven that her fanfare was a big hoax. Actions speak louder than words, and Priyanka Gandhi’s non-action has been louder than any enchanting words Congress may have attributed to her. The negativity of her campaign points to the fact that Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has run out of ideas. Her appointment has been much ado about nothing. The grand old party’s ‘brahmastra’ seems to have fizzled out and the citizens are left wondering, is this it?