‘Draft Priyanka’ voice gets louder

New Delhi :  Within the Congress rank and file, party president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka has always enjoyed a higher popular rating that her brother and party vice-president Rahul.

Even in her admittedly limited role as the campaigner in the two family constituencies — Amethi and Rae Bareli — she has been a top draw and managed to create an element of nervousness in the rival camp. ”Amethi ka danka, beti Priyanka” has been an old catchy slogan.

She has always played a major backroom role in the party’s strategic affairs related to media and campaign in several elections. However, all along her public profile in the party organization has been quite minimal. It has also been argued that a larger role for her would imply the official acceptance of her brother Rahul’s failure. In sync with this understanding, party spokespersons have shunned any comment on her ‘larger role’ and have argued that it is for her to decide.

But now things are changing after the huge 2014 debacle. The ‘draft Priyanka’ voices are getting louder not only in the speculative circles, but even senior leaders are willing to express their opinion.

“She should be very actively involved in the Congress. She should give more time to the party and she doesn’t need a post for that,” said senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes. In off-the-record conversations as well leaders endorse this view and argue that no one should view this as a “Priyanka versus Rahul” situation.

‘They are so close to each other that this element of competition or rivalry is completely misplaced,” said another senior leader.

The Congress party has constituted yet another Antony committee after the May 2014 debacle and any changes would be post the submission of this report. A revamp of the organizational set-up is on cards, but leaders are not in a position to talk of any time frame. They also concede that beyond the desire for a greater role for Priyanka, there is no clarity on other aspects.

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