From campaigner to Congress candidate, 5 crucial occasions during Priyanka Gandhi’s political journey

Image Source : INDIA TV Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress leader and sister of party colleague Rahul Gandhi, is set to make a debut in electoral politics. Since her entry into active politics in 2019, Priyanka was projected as a possible challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi and even in the Lok Sabha elections 2024, it was speculated that she might run for against the PM from his seat. Also, a few Congress leaders demanded her to contest from the family pocket borough of Rae Bareli – a seat represented by Congress veteran and mother Sonia Gandhi who moved to Rajya Sabha ahead of the general elections 2024.

Notably, the Congress’s decision to field her from Kerala’s Wayanad, the parliamentary seat that her elder brother Rahul Gandhi won for two consecutive terms, is seen as a significant move to rest the party’s power around the Gandhi family or endorsing critics’ claim that Gandhi family is the axis of Congress.

With her entry into the electoral polity, three key members of the Gandhi family – Sonia Gandhi and her both children – will be at the helm of the grand old party. The presence of Gandhi siblings in the Lok Sabha (as she is likely to win in the Wayanad seat) will draw the Opposition’s criticism over dynastic politics, on the side, she will be one of the strongest voice from Congress in the lower house, strengthening party battle against the government in the Parliament. 

However, her supporters waited for 4 years for her entry into electoral politics. The grand old party appointed her general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, a politically significant part of the state in September 2020.

In the last four years, Priyanka displayed remarkable manoeuvres against the Bharatiya Janata Party government in UP and at the Centre on several occasions when Opposition resistance was required. She firmly stood by the victims’ side in some of the shocking crimes against the women in the state.

Here are five occasions when she stood like a veteran leader

April 13, 2018: Perhaps this was one of her first outings as a protester. Priyanka, while participating Rahul Gandhi-led midnight march at India Gate, New Delhi, got shoved by the crowd. The march was held against the Kathua and Unnao rape incidents. 

March 2019: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched a ‘boat’ campaign on Ganga ahead of crucial Lok Sabha elections 2019 to consolidate Congress voters along the river. Her boat ride on a 140-kilometre stretch aimed for reviving the party’s electoral fortune in the state. Her rare boat ride campaign of the Ganga river between the Prayagraj and Mirzapur created much buzz in the media but failed to revive her party’s electoral fortune.

December 28, 2019: December is a month of cold but in the political circle it was hot all around because of nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Priyanka decided to join protesters in Lucknow but she was stopped. The determined Congress leader managed to dodge Lucknow Police to reach the Indiranagar residence of former IPS officer-turned-activist SR Darapuri. She took a scooty ride and marched on foot to breach security. Her resistance against the government hit headlines for days during CAA protests in 2019-20.

October 05, 2021: Priyanka Gandhi was arrested and put in the Sitapur guest house which was turned into a temporary jail during protests against Union Minister Ajay Misra after his convoy allegedly killed eight people. The police filed an FIR against protestors, including Priyanka.

August 05, 2022: Priyanka Gandhi was detained by the Delhi Police when she staged a sit-in as part of the Congress’s nationwide protest against price rise, the GST hike on essential items and unemployment outside Congress headquarters in the national capital.

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