Priyanka Gandhi Given Key Congress Party Post in UP Ahead of 2019 Elections

This is the first time 47-year-old Priyanka will be participating in active politics.

New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been appointed the general secretary, Uttar Pradesh east, of the Indian National Congress. The party announced this decision in an official communique on Wednesday (January 23).

As general secretary in charge of UP east, Priyanka will be taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his turf, Varanasi.

Priyanka’s appointment comes at a time when there has been large-scale speculation on whether she will be the party’s candidate from the Gandhi family bastion of Rae Bareli. The Lok Sabha constituency is currently held by former Congress president and Priyanka’s mother, Sonia Gandhi.

This is the first time 47-year-old Priyanka will be participating in active politics. She has campaigned for her brother Rahul Gandhi and Sonia in the past, in Amethi and Rae Bareli respectively, but never contested elections herself or held any party posts.

Priyanka will be taking charge of her new post from the first week of February, according to the Congress. Her candidature has been announced at a time when both Rahul and Sonia are in UP.

Writing in The Wire in 2016, when word was spreading that Priyanka would campaign before the UP assembly elections, journalist Harish Khare noted:

Her (relative) freshness should allow Priyanka to do things differently. Provided she gives convincing evidence of having a sturdy moral compass and plain common political sense. It would be naïve to assume that those very forces and processes which have saddled her brother’s leadership project with ‘Pappufication’ would be any kinder to her; she would need to be fully prepared for the frontal onslaught of ‘Vadrafication.’ Anyone who aspires to be a leader of the Congress party in these exceedingly partisan times must be geared up for hostile scrutiny from a hostile government. No quarters will be given, or should be expected.