Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi made two important political points addressing a farmers rally in Saharanpur — putting on a Rudraksh mala and taking a holy dip at the Sangam and meeting Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati at Mankameshwar Mandir in Prayagraj.
As the party is trying to make inroads into Jatland through the farmers’ agitation, Priyanka is making bold political statements through her persona and carrying a Rudraksh at Dehradun is one of them. However, close aides say mixing personal faith with politics is uncalled for as the Congress is a party for everyone, of each religion and caste, and the party is with the farmers for a cause not because of politics.
The ‘Rudraksh’ mala which she carried has led to intense speculation about the Congress General Secretary. Priyanka also offered prayers at the famous Shakumbhari Devi temple where she was seen meditating for some time as the priests chanted hymns. The Congress leader then visited the Raipur Khanqah Dargah in Saharanpur where she offered a ‘chadar’.
However political observers say the Rudraksh is not new in the family, even Indira Gandhi wore it in her regular public appearances and so trying to search for some other meaning would not be fair to her.
Congress spokesman Anshu Awasthi said, “Priyankaji belongs to a Brahmin family and has every right to visit a temple or carry a Rudraksh mala. She belongs to the family of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.”
But close aides reject that she is pursuing soft Hindutva and say that one’s personal faith should be respected. The Congress does not mix religion with politics as the BJP does.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday took a dip at the Sangam — the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers — on the occasion of “Mauni Amavasya’. Priyanka took the holy dip, offered prayers and even did some boating.
She also visited Anand Bhavan, the ancestral home of the Nehru family. Here she offered floral tributes at the place where late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s ashes were kept before they were immersed in the Ganga river. She interacted with the children of the orphanage in Anand Bhavan and spoke to them on various issues.
She visited Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati too. Observers say that she is trying to place the Congress as the principal challenger to the BJP as she has made prominent political interventions like in Hathras. But the Congress has to look at a revival plan through social engineering as the BJP has cobbled together a coalition of upper castes and OBCs, giving prominent places to the communities. The Samajwadi Party is also mainly dependent on the OBC and Muslim equations.
Since the farmers agitation is still going strong, the Congress has begun block level meetings to highlight the plight of the farmers and Priyanka Gandhi is scheduled to visit Bijnor on February 15 to address a farmers panchayat. Ajay Kumar Lallu, President of the state Congress, said, “not only Priyankaji but all the leaders have been tasked to highlight the farmers issue and we will stand with the farmers till the farm laws are withdrawn.”
Priyanka Gandhi is not only vocal about the farmers issue, she will be addressing the farmers issue with all her might. The proof is that she visited the family of Navreet Singh who died on January 26 during the tractor rally.
“When the Congress comes to power again, we will immediately repeal these farm laws. We will also ensure MSP for all farmers,” she had said while addressing a ‘Kisan Panchayat’ in Chilkhana in Saharanpur district.