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Priyanka Gandhi: The natural-born crowd-puller

How Priyanka, along with Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, worked the crowds during the road show in Lucknow

By Dev Raj in Patna, our Delhi bureau and PTI in Patna and Delhi

  • Published 12.02.19, 1:35 PM
  • Updated 12.02.19, 1:35 PM
Graphic by Rahul Awasthi

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s six-hour, 22km road show in Lucknow, organised to welcome her as the new general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, had tens of thousands watching from roadsides, balconies and rooftops. At one point, an estimated 2 lakh people had joined the road show.

WILL IT WORK?

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s plunge into politics will help the Congress but she has no magic wand, says Prashant Kishor, once a poll consultant and now a leader of the Janata Dal United, a BJP ally. “The Congress will benefit, but it will be the people who will decide the actual impact of her induction,” Kishor said.

Asked whether Priyanka would be able to change the Congress’s luck in Uttar Pradesh, Kishor said: “She is conducting a road show in Lucknow today, but time will tell if she can change the luck of the party. She has no magic wand and it’s her first day in politics.”

He added: “It is not possible for anybody to come into politics just two or three months before the polls and create a big impact. However, Priyanka is a big name in today’s politics and if she works, it could affect the NDA.”

A young Priyanka Gandhi with her grandmother.
A young Priyanka Gandhi with her grandmother. The Telegraph file picture

GRANNY’S GIRL

The refrain on the streets of Lucknow on Monday: She looks like Indira Gandhi. “It’s like Indira Gandhi has come back,” Reuters quoted Fuzail Ahmed Khan, 45, a Congress supporter, as saying. “The state’s farmers want Rahul Gandhi to be Prime Minister, Priyanka to be chief minister.”

KEEP HER SAFE...

Robert Vadra described his wife as “my best friend, a perfect wife and the best mother to our children” and conveyed his best wishes over Facebook. “There is a very vindictive and vicious political atmosphere.... But I know, it’s her duty to serve the people and now we hand her to the people of India. Please keep her safe,” Vadra said.

Brother Rahul did keep a watchful eye, helping her duck the thicket of electrical wires hanging low in Lucknow.

The Gandhi siblings at the Lucknow road show.
The Gandhi siblings at the Lucknow road show. PTI

...From them too

Is the BJP bothered? Seems so from the intemperate comments. “Priyanka Gandhi wears jeans and top in Delhi but when she comes to rural areas she is clad in a sari and wears sindoor,” said Harish Dwivedi, the BJP MP representing Basti in Uttar Pradesh. Dwivedi was roundly criticised on social media.

JUGGLING ROLES

By nightfall, Priyanka had arrived in Jaipur. Robert Vadra — and possibly his mother — are scheduled to appear on Tuesday before the Enforcement Directorate at the agency’s Jaipur office. The ED is probing money laundering charges linked to a land case in Rajasthan.

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