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Priyanka pastille cannot be prodigious for the Congress!
With the entry of Priyanka Vadra (Gandhi) into politics and her elevation as party general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leaders at the centre as well as in the state are day-dreaming as if her much-awaited entry into politics would change electoral fortune of the party overnight, which is impossible as the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh is fighting upcoming general elections without having any organizational structure.

Merely having a Gandhi name or being a scion of Gandhi family cannot make people to suddenly vote for Congress party in a state that holds the key to Indian Parliament as it sends largest 80 law makers to the lower House of the Parliament. Priyanka Vadra who made her political debut early this week would have face tough task in the state where India's grand old party last rule in late 1990s and its last chief minister was Narayan Dutt Tiwari.

It is not going to be an easy task for her to not only prepare the party for elections but also perform and prove her mantle within a short span of three months as forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are to be held somewhere in the middle of May this year. The first and most complicated task ahead for her in eastern UP is to build a comprehensive party structure there to bring its old workers back to party folds. No party can win any election without the presence of its workers as they are the instrumental in bringing voters to the polling booths. Next she will have to set up district and booth level committees as most of old Congress workers have either joined other parties particularly BJP.

Another tough task ahead for Priyanka is to win over the confidence of upper caste voters as it is only segment in UP where Congress under new leadership could make inroads in BJP's bastion. In UP Congress still has 7 to 10 per cent vote share that too among high castes. This vote share do vote for the party only on the condition that it is not ally with any of low caste party like SP or BSP. In 2009 Congress had secured 22 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh because it had contested that election alone. Repeating that situation for the party is not going to be an easy task for both Priyanka and Jyotiraditya Scindia who has been appointed as party general secretary in charge of western UP as the Congress is having a tacit electoral understanding with the SP-BSP combine under the formidable alliance of SP and BSP have left two seats of Amethi and Rai Bareli for Congress party. Similarly, Congress is also leaving two seats for Akhilesh Yadab of Samajwadi Party and Mayawati of BSP

Entry or exit of majority of people in politics at best causes a ripple, but yesterday when the entry of Priyanka Vadra was announced it caused a storm if not a Tsunami in Indian politics. Reason is clear; her entry was most awaited event and is expected to change the political scene in U.P, the largest state in India which sends eighty members to the Lok Sabha. BJP won a majority on its own in 2014 by winning 71 seats. 

Before Priyanka announced her entry, it was expected to be a straight fight between BJP on one hand and SP-BSP combine on the other. The Congress party had been given two seats of Raibareli and Amethi, a position which could have led to the virtual exit of the Congress from the largest state in India, a position not acceptable to the party. The entry of Priyanka will lead to entry of a third force and a revival of the Congress party. 

The factors in her favour are that she is coming at a time when party has received a fresh dose of strength by winning Assembly poll in three States in Hindi heartland. Her brother with his showing in Gujarat poll and recent Assembly poll has clearly established his position and proved his credentials to lead the party. As such entry of Priyanka will be seen as a booster for Congress party and not a rival of Rahul Gandhi. 

As a campaigner Priyanka can compare with anyone. She has charm, wit and strong resemblance with her grandmother. During her limited campaign she has shown that she has capacity to win over audiences in general and women in particular. Leaving aside her appeal to audience who in the past were part of the Congress, she also has ability to select candidates and associates who could help her to rebuild Congress party in U.P. 

As she has been made in charge of eastern UP, she will have to match with top leaders of BJP like Chief Minister of U.P Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the past this region has been divided on caste basis as such she would be on test if this has to be changed. It is a matter of debate who will she damage more, but the fact remains she will have to find space for Congress by damaging both players. 

If Congress emerges as a third force in UP it will automatically attract minority and Upper caste and Brahmins who are neglected at present. Agree time at the disposal of Priyanka Vadra is short as elections are due after three months only, but she will certainly leave her stamp on it even if she is unable to change the outcome. In politics they say even a week is a long time not to speak of three months.  

There are two options for SP-BSP. They could join forces with Congress and thus improve their ability to fight BJP with the objective of defeating Narendra Modi or fight separately and hope for a post-poll alliance. They are no more in a position to ignore Congress. It is in the field with Priyanka Vadra in East U.P and Jyotiraditya Scindia in the West. If Congress Party is able to get even 10 seats in UP it will make a big difference as party will be able to make it clear that it remains a force in U.P which sets the tune in Hindi belt.  

By bringing out Priyanka at this stage, the Congress party cadre will find one more charismatic leader to follow who will be able to share burden with her brother Rahul Gandhi. The task of building Congress which had been under the onslaught of Modi-Shah who was keen to make India free of Congress party is not easy. The BJP has stopped talking of Congress free Bharat; one could hope soon they would recognize it as alternative force as two national parties help in making democracy work better. At present declared aim of the opposition parties is to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they have become threat to democracy and are destroying institutions. This can be done by fighting untidily to avoid division of opposition vote and not by growing at expense of each other. 

If the BJP remains strong in the Hindi belt, it will not be possible to defeat them even if regional parties are able to defeat them in their respective States. Congress which at present is a major force in six states and an alternative to BJP can be built around it and not by excluding it. Choice before regional parties is either to join hands with BJP or Congress. As in the past a stable government can be run only by a strong alliance, regional parties on their own are not practical at present.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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