Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra?

The last week of election campaigning, heading into Phase 7 of the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, has seen the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's other scion, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, taking the lead. Many believe that the reason for this is because her brother and the Congress' PM-in-waiting has proven to be a joke to put it lightly. Voters do not take his campaigning seriously and his gaffes ('27000 crore jobs...'), including his disastrous interview to Arnab Goswami, have made his party lose votes. Therefore, to lift the party's fortunes, Priyanka, with her Indira-esque looks, is being propped up at least by some sections of the party.

While there may be some truth behind these assertions, the real truth seems to be at a much smaller level - Amethi. It is no secret that the Gandhi dynasty has more or less ignored their constituencies. Unlike Baramati or Saifai, Amethi and Rae Bareli are as poor and backward as they were when Rajiv Gandhi ascended the party throne. But it was in the last UP Assembly elections that the family got first jolt of shifting realities: a majority of the assembly segments went to the SP, which went on to form the government. This was the first sign of danger that the family's vice-like grip is loosening.

And now, with the Modi wave that is strong in UP and Bihar, the BJP has made a smart move by fielding Smriti Irani against Rahul Gandhi. By smartly using the issue of Robert Vadra's land dealings in Haryana and Rajasthan, Ms Irani has managed to attract a lot of farmers (the young are as such with her), which gives her a good share of the votes and possibly a real chance of defeating Rahul. This is in well beyond all expectations, including our own.

And it is this very matter that has forced Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra to step up to bat for Rahul. With his busy schedule of gaffes, Rahul has little time to concentrate on his own constituency and this is an acknowledged fact. So far, the family had assumed that their seats are always safe and that no other party would challenge them in it (indeed, only the BJP is putting up a fight in Amethi while Sonia gets a walkover). This is no longer the truth and that is the main reason why Priyanka has had to step up her attacks on the BJP.

The spat between Priyanka and Modi is not the real story. The spat between Priyanka and Irani is.

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