Jan 192012

For, Priyanka — she has so far confined herself to Amethi and Rae Bareli, the constituencies of her brother and mother Sonia Gandhi — was expressing her willingness, for the first time, to campaign all over the state.

Her words cannot but be part of a calibrated strategy that has been put into motion for UP. Hypothetically speaking, if Rahul does not take up her offer, his opponents will talk about a rift between brother and sister. Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni has also endorsed the idea. That would not have been the case, had the idea not been endorsed by Sonia.

The 2012 semi-finals, as the UP elections are being billed, may therefore get a foretaste of things to come in 2014. Priyanka’s entry will electrify the campaign in UP, which has historically determined the road to Delhi.

The way Priyanka articulated her offer, it was clear that she was not jumping into active politics, but was only going to campaign to help her brother. She is a Brahmastra the party was expected to keep up its sleeve for full play only in 2014. But now, she may come in, in a limited sort of way, given the high stakes that exist for Rahul, who has decided to lead the campaign in UP, putting his personal prestige on stake.

Those who saw Priyanka in action in Rae Bareli in 1999 have not forgotten how her one sentence — ‘How did you allow someone who had stabbed my father in the back to enter Rae Bareli?’ — turned the election against an otherwise well-placed Arun Nehru.
Nor have they forgotten how a Dalit couple stood by the road, hands folded, tears streaming down their cheeks, to the playing of the film song, ‘Baharon phool barsao mera mehboob aya hai’, waiting to see her cavalcade. And spotting them, she ran across and touched their feet and they stroked her face with their gnarled hands. Like it or not, Priyanka exudes a natural, born-to-rule chemistry.

It is early days to conclude how the situation will pan out, for there is no doubt that parties do take time to rebuild. But certainly, Priyanka’s offer to campaign all over UP could introduce a new element in the election, and it could turn out to be a game-changer.

News Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/

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