LUCKNOW: After a marathon 15-hour long deliberation on the poll preparedness of 13 Lok Sabha seats in the first round since Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday early morning, Congress’s newly-appointed general secretary Priyanka Gandhi claimed that 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be a direct fight between PM Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and that she would not be there in the fray.
Interacting with the media persons as early as 5 on Wednesday morning, Priyanka Gandhi clarified that it was not she but Rahul Gandhi who would be contesting against PM Narendra Modi in the upcoming elections. When asked about the interrogation of her husband Robert Vadra by Enforcement Directorate, Priyanka put up a brave face saying that all those things would continue and she was doing her work. “Yeh sab cheezen to chalti hi rahengi. Main apna Kaam kar rahi hoon (These things will go on like this, I am doing my work),” she said donning her typical smile.
When asked further, Priyanka said she did not get perturbed by such happenings and that she was busy with the responsibilities imparted to her in Uttar Pradesh. When asked about her experience with the party men, the high-profile Congress general secretary said it was good and a learning experience for her. “I am imbibing a lot of things about the organisation and its structure while interacting with the party men. I am getting suggestions over winning elections from my party men,” she maintained.
Priyanka sent a strong message to rivals in the political landscape of UP by holding marathon strategy
sessions with workers from 13 of 41 eastern UP Lok Sabha constituencies. As per party sources, she spent more than an hour with each party worker who was called for interaction.
During her over a day-long discussion with the Congress leaders and grass root workers both on Tuesday and Wednesday, the common refrain was to convince Priyanka to contest Lok Sabha elections. Multiple choices were given to her but she adopted the stand of working for the party organisation and make it poll ready to face the rivals instead of contesting herself.
She also met leaders and office bearers of Lucknow, Unnao, Mohanlalganj, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Ambedkar Nagar, Sitapur, Kaushambi, Fatehpur, Bahraich, Phulpur and Ayodhya Lok Sabha constituencies to galvanise the party's preparations. On Wednesday, Priyanka Gandhi lent a patient
ear to the waiting workers from Kaiserganj, Gonda, Shravasti, Dumariaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Lalganj and Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituencies.
As per the insiders who were privy to her interaction with party leaders and workers, Priyanka used to caution them against prevailing factionalism and infighting, urging them to stand united. "Gutbaazi khatam kikjiye (end groupism)," Priyanka told the local leaders.
Gandhi also advised members to unite and unilaterally support a candidate decided by the party for a constituency, no matter who it was.
Priyanka has many difficult tasks at hand. She is not only witnessing one of the most difficult times for the Congress party electorally but has also been sidelined by prospective allies for 'mahagatbandhan', with the Samajwadi Party and BSP totally ignoring it while forming their alliance. The Congress was decimated in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and could win just two of 80 seats in the state.