While every party reacted to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s appointment as AICC general secretary for east UP, the silence of SP leader Akhilesh Yadav was conspicuous. Insiders in UP Congress and the SP were amused and recalled her role in finalising the seat-sharing between Congress and the SP ahead of the 2017 assembly polls. She had intervened when talks between Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh over the alliance met a roadblock. When asked, an SP leader said there was no need to make any comment. Interestingly, the other leader who remained silent on the development was West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
PM’s Pep Talk
While interacting with the booth-level workers of the BJP in Baramati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to NCP leader Sharad Pawar to explain the ills of dynasty politics. Clarifying that he personally respects Pawar for his work as a political leader and his contribution to the Baramati constituency, Modi told them that the story he heard while he was in Gujarat was that Pawar “had been shown the doors of the Congress overnight after he staked claim to the post of party president”. According to him, such things could happen only in “family parties”. But the most amusing fact, he said, was that Pawar, who was “humiliated” by the Congress, has now gone back to the same side.
Congress leaders are happy over Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s political plunge, but many in the party are now sensing a personal opportunity. There are many leaders who are not in the good books of Rahul Gandhi and have been sidelined ever since his elevation as Congress president. Her entry has warmed the hearts of those who have publicly favoured her entry into politics in the past and they are sensing the possibility of the rise of another power centre or a camp in which they could have a place.