Having kept the Congress out of their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for Lok Sabha elections, leaders of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Wednesday said Priyanka Gandhi’s entry in active politics will not help the grand old party make much impact on the prospects of their candidates. The development, they maintained, can damage only the BJP.
Leaders of several other opposition parties welcomed her appointment. JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor tweeted, “One of the most awaited entries in Indian politics is finally here! While people may debate the timing, exact role and position, to me the real news is that she finally decided to take the plunge! Congratulations and best wishes…”
Senior SP leader and member of UP Legislative Council Udaiveer Singh said, “Priyanka Gandhi is not the answer to questions the people are asking. People will decide who to vote for on the basis of policies of the (main) political parties — the Congress, SP-BSP alliance and the BJP. Besides, the social base and winnability of the (SP-BSP) alliance candidates will be crucial.”
A BSP leader said on the condition of anonymity that Priyanka’s appointment will increase confidence of Congress workers, as they will find something new occurring in the party, but there will be “no impact” on the SP-BSP alliance.
“If people vote on the basis of one’s face, Priyanka Gandhi is not more prominent than Narendra Modi. She is also not the PM candidate. Besides, 25 to 30 per cent voters in each constituency will prefer a party that is in a position to defeat Modi — that voter will ask the Congress how it will win.”
Stating that the alliance is capable of defeating the BJP on its own, another BSP leader said, “Priyanka’s elevation will impact only BJP’s votes — voters from upper castes and trader communities, who had earlier been with the Congress but had subsequently shifted to BJP, may return. Such a situation will damage BJP. Votes of SP-BSP alliance, including Dalits, Muslims and Yadavs, are intact.”
Another SP leader said, “Let the Congress show all its cards. If it fields Priyanka Gandhi against Narendra Modi in Varanasi, and the SP-BSP alliance supports her, Modi will certainly lose. But for that, the Congress will have to show a large heart. If Congress fields strong candidates against us, that will help BJP.”
Among leaders of other parties, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav welcomed Rahul Gandhi’s decision to appoint Priyanka as Congress general secretary and tweeted, “We wholeheartedly welcome her entry in active politics. Her appointment will not only energise youth and cadre but motivate 50 per cent female population of India in politics.”
Congratulating Priyanka, Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav tweeted that that it is a step at the right time in the right direction taken by Rahul Gandhi.
PDP chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Welcome Priyanka Gandhi to the rough and tumble of politics. She brings with her the grace of Gandhi Nehru lineage and her immense personal charm. Wish her the best. Could she become the X-factor of 2019?” The Trinamool Congress declined to comment.