New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be the “lead campaigner” for the party in the coming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, party sources said on Tuesday.
“This is confirmed that she has agreed to become the lead campaigner. This will be formally announced by the AICC (All India Congress Committee) in a day or two,” an informed source told IANS.
There has been speculation that Priyanka Gandhi and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may play a major role in the 2017 assembly polls.
Dikshit said on Monday that Priyanka Gandhi would be the “right” person to be the chief campaigner for the Congress in the country’s most populous state.
“If she (Priyanka) joins the campaign, she will be very welcome. She is familiar with UP,” said Dikshit, a three-term Chief Minister of Delhi.
“The media and television channels have been running programmes on Priyanka for the past two days. I think she is the right person. She would be a great asset for the party.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Tuesday: “We refuse to indulge in any speculation. If a decision is taken vis-à-vis the role and responsibility of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, we shall be happy to share it with the media.”
Asked if Priyanka Gandhi would assume any formal responsibility in the party, Surjewala said: “Lots of Congress leaders and workers have expressed their opinion from time to time on various issues including the role and responsibility of various individuals.
“We are humbled by their support and respect that. However a decision to give a role and responsibility to any particular individual will be taken by Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) and Vice President (Rahul Gandhi) in consultation with state leaders.”
A mother of two, Priyanka Gandhi, 44, has thus far confined herself to campaigning in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituencies of her mother and brother respectively.
She has also occasionally strayed into some nearby areas such as Sultanpur. She has declined to take up a larger role in the party despite persistent calls from Congress leaders and activists.
Many in the Congress consider Priyanka Gandhi more charismatic than Rahul Gandhi and feel her campaign style can draw the votes the party is looking for in Uttar Pradesh.
After dominating the politics of Uttar Pradesh for decades, the Congress has now become an also-ran, ceding primary space to the now ruling Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, only two Congress candidates won from the state — Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.