A week after the Congress’s catastrophic defeat, Priyanka Vadra is said to have plunged quietly into her brother’s recovery efforts for their party, attending strategy sessions to chart the future.
Sources said Priyanka was present at a meeting Rahul Gandhi called to assess the Congress’s showing among Dalit voters at Jawahar Bhavan earlier this week. Despite Rahul’s aggressive outreach, Dalits have been cold to the party. Sources said the Congress’s SC departments in nearly all states could be reconstituted.
Congress SC department chairman K Raju, an IAS officer whom Rahul brought into the organisation, denied the meeting took place, but confirmed that the department was working on a comprehensive five-year plan to make inroads into the Dalit vote.
“We are discussing and debating. We are sourcing data to find out the voting pattern among the various castes. We have also sought feedback internally. All this will go into the revival plan the Congress is preparing,” Raju told The Indian Express.
Demands that Priyanka play a larger role in reviving the fortunes of the 129-year-old party are growing.
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Outgoing food minister K V Thomas said on Friday that along with every Congressman, he too wished that she should come to the “main arena”, and work with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul as a team.
Thomas has argued that people see Indira Gandhi in Priyanka; his colleague Pallam Raju has said that she has a natural ability to connect with people.
At the AICC briefing, general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the party could not force Priyanka to take up active politics. “Do not ask us to take a decision on her behalf,” he said, even as he pointed out that “her public meetings in Amethi and Rae Bareli had attracted national and international media attention”, which was “a pleasant thing”.