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Priyanka Gandhi in active politics likely to rejuvenate Cong, lead to realignment of forces



Priyanka Gandhi

After years of speculation over her entry into active politics, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been drafted into the All India Congress Committee as General Secretary today (Wednesday, Jan 23)

Starting with the same designation that was given to her elder brother Rahul when he first joined the party organization over 15 years ago, Priyanka, who is currently on a foreign visit, is likely to take over her new responsibility shortly after she returns to New Delhi on February 1.

She will be in charge of Uttar Pradesh (East), the bastion of BJP and its chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

The move, which many see as Congress pulling out its ace or ‘brahmastra’ ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is certain to enthuse Congress workers all over. She has so far confined herself to the constituencies of her brother Rahul and mother Sonia Gandhi, Amethi and Raebareli till now, the pocket boroughs of Gandhis.

Priyanka Gandhi, 47, who reminds many of her grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi both for her charisma and the stunning likeness, would pose a more difficult challenge to  the BJP and its troll army given to personal attacks. Such tactics are more likely to backfire than work against her.

The BJP will need to dig out something more meaningful and powerful to counter her. It would need to realise that the usual harangue of ‘dynasty’ does not really wash with people. Besides, BJP also has its share of dynasts in the party.

Her husband Robert Vadra – the charges of corrupt land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan against him – are Priyanka Gandhi’s only ‘baggage’, but using it against her now, after Narendra Modi government failing to put him in jail all this time despite boasts of doing it within 100 days of assuming office, may also send out the wrong political message.

Her entry in politics may also lead to some realignment in the anti-BJP combine, especially in Uttar Pradesh where the SP-BSP alliance had so far given only a marginal role to Congress.

Priyanka Gandhi joining active politics when Rahul Gandhi has nearly been anointed the inheritor of Gandhi-Nehru family legacy does not have any element of a possibility of a family feud offering any opportunity to BJP.

Their shared leadership would be cause for worry to the BJP. While Rahul is honest and sincere, Priyanka is known to be personable and charismatic. While the brother is inquisitive and academic, the sister has an easy, natural connect with the masses and is an excellent public speaker.

As reported by India Legal back in August 2018, Priyanka’s entry into active politics was in the works. She had already been roped in by her brother to revive the Congress War Room – the party’s poll strategy office at 15, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road – and monitor drafting of the vision document and manifesto for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

India Legal reported that that Priyanka has been interacting with various heads of AICC departments and frontal organizations for the past six months and discussing specific tasks for them to ensure a more active party organization at the grassroots. A team of party leaders – mix of old hands and those who have gained Rahul’s confidence recently – have been assisting Priyanka in the task. Key among these names are Sam Pitroda, Jairam Ramesh, Rajeev Gowda and former SBI director Deepak Amin. Priyanka had also been advising Rahul directly on issues that he should take up in his poll campaigns and also his interventions during debates in Parliament.

The aggressive stance that Rahul has been taking against Modi on a host of issues lately, both inside Parliament and at party events, while stressing that he may disagree with his political rivals but has “love” for them in his heart, is also the result of Priyanka’s counselling, said the India Legal report.

Giving Priyanka responsibility of party affairs in a state that accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats is significant, especially considering her specific charge of eastern UP – a stronghold of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

The SP and BSP both have their pockets of influence primarily in western and central UP and in the Bundelkhand region while the BJP largely holds sway in eastern districts of the state. Sources say that the Congress’s decision to not join the SP-BSP alliance was borne out of its calculated strategy to have Priyanka lead the campaign in eastern UP and consolidate support for the party in areas where the BJP is strong, reported India Legal.

The next step for Priyanka, always seen as the more politically astute sibling, is likely to be contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli, the seat currently held by her mother Sonia Gandhi, who may opt out of electoral politics citing her poor health.

Other changes in Congress

Apart from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul has also effected a minor reshuffle of the party organization, focusing largely on Uttar Pradesh.

With Congress general secretary in charge of the party organization, Ashok Gehlot being sworn in as chief minister of Rajasthan recently, Rahul has brought in his confidante KC Venugopal to take over the role. Besides serving as AICC general secretary (organization), Venugopal will continue to be in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka.

Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who had lost out to Kamal Nath in the race for Madhya Pradesh chief minister recently has also been appointed AICC general secretary and been given charge of party affairs in Western UP with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who had been serving as AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh, has been divested of this role and given charge of Haryana.

It is pertinent to note that the decision to appoint general secretaries in charge of specific regions in UP instead of having one official looking after party affairs in the entire state was also a strategy suggested by Priyanka, reported India Legal. In the coming weeks, Rahul is also expected to announce at least two more general secretaries who will look after party affairs in others parts of UP.

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Shiv Sena, BJP to fight Lok Sabha elections together: CM Eknath Shinde declares after meeting Amit Shah

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.



Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday, posting a picture from his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the BJP and Shiv Sena to unitedly fight all the upcoming elections including the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Shinde tweeted a picture, in which along with him and Shah, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis can also be seen.

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.

Shinde in the caption with the picture informed, in the meeting, it was decided that the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to contest all the upcoming elections in the state together, which includes the state assembly elections, local body elections and the mega 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Shinde added, for the sake of Maharashtra’s development, their alliance is strong and in the past 11 months of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the government has taken major steps towards progress of the state and has also given permission to the policies that were at halt.

Confident Shinde said, in the future elections, they will contest together and will win with majority to make Maharashtra as the top ranking state in the country.

The Maharashtra CM further added, discussions related to agriculture and cooperative department also held in the meeting with Shah.

Shinde also hoped for the continuous guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the implementation of policies for development of Maharashtra.

Shinde was a Thackeray family loyalist until last year, when he along with 15 other MLAs in a dramatic turn of events  went against then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, which resulted to the the collapse of Maha Vikash Aghadi government in the state and the formation of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government with Shinde taking over as the Chief Minister.

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Telugu Desam Party chief  Chandrababu Naidu meets Amit Shah, Nadda, speculation of BJP-TDP alliance

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.



Chandrababu Naidu

Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday evening, met BJP president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi to reportedly discuss an alliance ahead of the Telangana assembly election this year and 2024 general elections. The meeting lasted for an hour.

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.

During the Narendra Modi led NDA came to the power at Centre in 2014, Naidu’s TDP was a part of the alliance until March 2018, when it broke the alliance on the special status issue to Andhra Pradesh.

The decision that was taken by Naidu just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he had then said it was in concern with the Centre overlooking Andhra Pradesh in the annual budget of the Centre.

Both the parties came together after the recent municipal elections in Port Blair. In March this year the Port-Blair municipal elections the TDP emerged as the kingmaker backing the BJP in the council formation.

If the two parties extended ties, it is expected to come as a shot in the arm for the BJP which has an aspiring target of expanding its footprint in Andhra Pradesh and and other southern region.

The Centre ruled party recently lost the Karnataka assembly elections, the lone southern state, where the party was in power.

However, the failure of the Karnataka Assembly elections has shifted BJP’s senior leadership’s attention to other states in South India, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the party does not want to give the Congress any influence.

Reports said, while the TDP has emerged as one of the key opposition parties in Telangana, it has struggled to find support among the politically dominant castes in Andhra Pradesh.

Amid the speculations of an alliance between the TDP and BJP, both the parties have been throwing signals about a possible alliance in the near future.

The TDP recently distanced itself from the opposition’s move to boycott the Parliament inauguration event and marked its presence.

Reports said, the BJP leadership has made Telangana the party’s priority in its Mission South and has advanced in the state’s local body elections.

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War of words breaks out between BJP, Congress over Rahul Gandhi’s saying Muslim League is a secular party

Former Congress President and MP Mr. Rahul Gandhi got criticized by the BJP Leaders in India after his comment on the Muslim League is completely secular



Rahul Gandhi

Several BJP leaders were quick to pounce on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment at the National Press Club in Washington DC calling the Muslim League a secular party.

In his interaction in Washington DC, Rahul Gandhi said the Muslim League is a completely secular party and is in alliance with the Muslim League in Kerala as part of the United Democratic Front. Gandhi said there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League and questioned the reporter’s knowledge about the Muslim League.

Senior BJP leaders said Rahul Gandhi is insulting India from foreign shores. Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said Rahul Gandhi should apologise for his comments and should speak about it to the people in India once he is here.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said he does not take Rahul Gandhi seriously and blamed the comment on a Congress tendency. He said the comment was dangerous as such seeds of division can grow up to be challenges to the country.

Former Law Minister and BJP leader Kiren Rijiju criticised Rahul Gandhi’s statement on the Muslim League’s secular character. BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya criticized Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.

In response, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera hit out at Malviya on Twitter and questioned the BJP IT Cell chief’s wisdom and awareness about the Muslim League. He schooled him about the difference between the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala and the Muslim League of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

During the Washington DC interaction, Rahul Gandhi held forth on various topics including the party’s chances in the 2024 Lok Sabha, the move for Opposition unity to take on the BJP and the perils of unemployment that has been encircling India. Gandhi said his party was holding regular dialogue with all Opposition parties, there is a lot of good work happening in that regard.

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