With the Congress increasingly looking down the barrel as far as political prospects are concerned, it was the turn of Priyanka Gandhi to take a more proactive role in the party’s affairs.
But it was not intended to be a run-up to her electoral debut. Rather, Priyanka’s role would be to act as a bridge between the Congress old guard and generation next.
And the setting was the brainstorming session organised by her brother and Congress deputy chief Rahul Gandhi at his residence here.
With Rahul not around, Priyanka met the party’s new strategic group and exchanged views on crucial issues ranging from the forthcoming AICC session, the Congress campaign strategy and programmes for 2014.
The top Congress leaders, who were seen going into the over 90 minute-long meeting--the first of its kind to be publicised-- included Ahmed Patel, Janardhan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken, Jairam Ramesh and Rahul Gandhi loyalists Madhusudan Mistry and Mohan Gopal.
After acting coy about the meeting for a while, Dwivedi finally admitted that Priyanka did hold talks with senior party leaders, prefixing the admission with a “what’s so surprising about it?” line.
Lest the meeting that took place at Rahul’s residence should be misconstrued as a change of guard with the Congress chief’s daughter taking over her son’s place Dwivedi said, “Priyanka is the member of an important political family.
“Even though she does not take an active role in party politics (that is fighting elections), she is an active member (of the party) and looks after election work at Rae Bareli and Amethi which she will continue.”
Dwivedi also raised a pertinent point saying,”She has political views, she meets workers and if she meets party leaders, what’s new?”
In other words, Priyanka not only met the party leaders but also shared her views with them. Had the party wanted to keep the meeting under wraps, the venue would have been Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence and not the Tuglaq Lane office-cum-residence of Rahul.
The media got wind of the powwow when they went to meet Ramesh and found a prominently displayed meeting schedule there.
Sources indicated that one of the reasons for convening the meeting was to discuss the manner in which the political resolution that is expected to bring about a generational change and prop up Rahul as the de facto chief or PM candidate of the party would be handled.
The second issue that was taken up was the Congress supremo and deputy chief’s election campaign, expected to commence immediately after the January 17 AICC session.