Priyanka Gandhi enters active politics, made Congress in-charge of UP East

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the charismatic younger sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, plunged into active politics today with her appointment as the party's General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh East in a significant move ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Gandhi has also appointed another young leader Jyotiraditya Scindia as the General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh West.
While Priyanka will take charge of her assignment in the first week of February, Scindia's appointment with immediate effect.
In other appointments, K C Venugopal, Lok Sabha member from Kerala, has been appointed as All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary (Organisation) with immediate effect. He will continue in his role as AICC General Secretary-in-Charge for Karnataka.
Venugopal replaces Ashok Gehlot, who has taken over as Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was AICC General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh so far, will be General Secretary for Haryana with immediate effect, a press release from AICC added.
The entry of Priyanka, 47, daughter of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi, into active politics is expected to galvanise the Congress ranks not just in Uttar Pradesh but other parts of the country, too. Many people in the party had been urging her for a long time to take the plung. Till now, her role in politics has been largely confined to handling affairs in her mother's and brother's Lok Sabha constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. She has also campaigned in these constituencies in previous elections.
Rahul Gandhi, who was in his constituency of Amethi today, told reporters that the Congress was determined to "play on the front foot"  in Uttar Pradesh, where the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party (SP) headed by Akhilesh Yadav, also a former Chief Minister, have formed an alliance in the state for the Lok Sabha elections but kept the Congress out of it.
"We are not going to play on the back foot. We will practise politics for the people and for development. We play on the front foot, where we can," he said.
Describing Priyanka and Scindia as "powerful young leaders", Gandhi said they would ensure that the Congress would provide to the youth of Uttar Pradesh what they wanted.
"There will be a new kind of thinking in Uttar Pradesh, a positive change," he said.
Gandhi said he had the greatest respect for Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. He said there were many similarities in the ideologies of the three parties and they were determined to oust the BJP from power at the centre. "Wherever there is a chance to cooperate with them, wherever we can work together, we will be ready," he said.
He said Priyanka and Scindia would work for the real ideology of the Congress, for the poor and the weaker sections. He said he was fully confident that the two would deliver results in the state.
He also said that, at the personal level, he was very happy that he would be able to work with his sister, who, he said, was a very "capable person".
The Congress has a mountain to climb in UP, which sends 80 members to the 545-member Lok Sabha, the most from any state. In the 2014 elections, BJP won 71 seats from the state, while the Congress could only win Rahul Gandhi's and Sonia Gandhi's seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Uttar Pradesh will play a major role, as always, in deciding who will rule at the Centre and all major political parties will make every effort to get the maximum number of seats from the state.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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