Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 47 year old daughter of ex Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi was formally baptized into the active politics on January 23rd by becoming the new General Secretary having special charge of UP East.
Priyanka, the great granddaughter of Nehru often reminds people of India’s iron lady and the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But despite the striking resemblance, she is quite charismatic and has a personality of her own. She dwarfs most of the Bollywood queens in popularity and possesses a natural charm which media finds hard to forego.
She has her own meticulous way of dressing and with her beautiful smile, Priyanka Gandhi has so far managed to capture the hearts of people. Her formal entry in active politics was more than due and in all likelihood she may prove to be the next game changer for Congress party in the strategically important state of UP.
Priyanka is a graduate in Psychology from the prestigious Jesus and Mary College and later on did her MA in Buddhist Studies in 2010. She seems to have been deeply impressed by the tenets of Buddhism which she adopted later on. She is a follower of Buddhist philosophy and also practices Vipassanā.
Priyanka may have formally joined the active politics but as a matter of fact, she was always in the thick of the things. She had regularly visited her mother’s and brother’s constituencies of Rae Bareilly and Amethi which is respectively represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi and the Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Priyanka is very popular in these parts of Uttar Pradesh where she deals with the people directly, drawing large crowds everywhere. In almost every election in the last 15 years, the popular slogan in Amethi has been ‘Amethi ka danka, bitiya Priyanka’
In the 2004 Parliament election, she was her mother’s campaign manager and helped in managing her Brother Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in Amethi. In the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2007, her brother Rahul Gandhi was in charge of state campaign while she focused on the ten seats in the Amethi-Rae Bareilly region, spending two weeks there trying to control the infighting among the party workers over seat allocations.
Because of unforeseen developments in her family, her education was to a great extent got disturbed resulting in frequent change of schools. Despite an expectation of more active role for Priyanka from masses and workers of the Congress party, she displayed no political inclination whatsoever and performed her duty nonchalantly as a wonderful daughter and a loving sister with lot of grace and dignity.
Priyanka was an absolute apple of the eye for her father Rajiv and grandmother – Indira Gandhi who were both assassinated in a gap of seven years. The two tragic events, first her grandmother’s shooting by her own security guards on October 31, 1984 and then the assassination of her father Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 may have matured Priyanka beyond her age.
Who can forget the haunting image of a 19 year old young girl in white churidar Kurta witnessing her father’s mortal remains consigned to flames at Veer Bhumi. Priyanka once told the media that she is aware that she resembled her grandmother. The present generation of youth may not have seen Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India in person to understand the striking resemblance between these two incredible ladies from Gandhi family.
Priyanka has inherited the same sharp nose of her grandmother. She is also very fond of wearing Saris and that too in a traditional drape. She as a matter of fact possesses some of Mrs Indira Gandhi’s sarees. While going for campaign in Amethi, the elderly people of the constituency have a sense of déjà vu who feel as if Indira herself is visiting them.
Her poise and elegance is so classy that it reminds people of the former Prime Minister. She has a charismatic personality and has a very easy and unique way of answering the uncomfortable queries from journos. She is also quite spontaneous and courageous who is willing to carry the Nehru- Gandhi legacy forward. Priyanka has this gift of striking an emotional chord with the masses which she may have inherited from her famous grandmother.
Yesterday, she formally joined her office at the AICC but while going there, she accompanied her embattled husband Robert Vadra on his way to the Enforcement Directorate and when asked as what she thinks of her husband’s interrogation by ED, her answer was as good as you get. She said “I support my family and Robert is my husband”. That one sentence may have set the agenda of the kind of fight which India is likely to witness in this year’s Parliamentary elections. To be continued…
(DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.)