Why Priyanka Gandhi is being sidelined by Congress in UP elections?

As opposed to the expectations of thousands of Congress workers that Priyanka Gandhi would lead Congress’ UP poll campaign, photograph of the young politician of the Gandhi family was not featured in the official banner released by the AICC for use in the first phase of the campaign.

priyanka gandhiThe AICC issued the official banner for use at all the proposed 27 rallies that commenced with Sonia Gandhi launching the ’27 saal, UP behal’ campaign in Delhi on July 23.

‘She is family’, Raj Babbar on why Priyanka Gandhi is missing from Congress’ UP campaign

It has photographs of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul on one side and photos of Sheila Dixit, surrounded by pictures of Raj Babbar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, PL Punia, Dr Nirmal Khatri, Salman Khurshid, Pramod Tewari and Sanjay Singh. These 27 rallies form part of the party’s first phase campaign in UP that is slated to end on October 9.

According to a report, this decision is a brainchild of poll strategist, Prashant Kishor (PK), who wants uniformity and a clear direction to the campaign by projecting only the faces that can get votes and would be at the front.

“PK believes that lesser the ambiguity the better for Congress”, said the source while adding that care has been taken to accommodate local state leaders in the banner.

When contacted, the party’s newly-appointed state president and erstwhile Bollywood star Raj Babbar, in a typical filmy style, said, “hum bhi unke (Priyanka) liye palken bichaye baithen hai (even we are eagerly waiting for her to come and lead the campaign)”.

He said Priyanka has assured that she would play a bigger role in UP’s campaign and everyone in the party is waiting for her.

“She’s family,” said Raj Babbar adding that photos of only office bearers had been used in the current banner. Similar were the views of former state president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who incidentally is also missing from the banner despite having led the party to polls in the last elections.

Notwithstanding these claims, local Congress leaders are disappointed, as they feel that Priyanka could be the game changer in UP.

A state leader said on condition of anonymity that this gives an indication that she will not be actively participating in the campaign, at least for the first phase. “Hopefully she would be here in the later campaign.”

As per party sources, during the first phase of campaigning 64 districts would be covered between August 21 and October 9. The last rally would be at Mahoba, which would be held after covering a distance of 5,475km and holding 30 workers’ meet and 33 aam sabhas (general meetings) during this period.

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