NEW DELHI: The Congress’ behind-the-scenes strategist Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is set to launch Mission 2019 after her brother Rahul Gandhi takes over as party chief by the month-end. According to top Congress sources, Priyanka will not take any party post, as speculated, but focus on restructuring the organisation at the grassroots level ahead of the 2019 General Elections. “The main target is to bring the voters to the polling station,” a senior leader in the know of things said.
Towards that goal, Priyanka has formed a core team of five close aides. As per the plan, Nyay Panchayat level teams, each of which will have a few villages under it, will be tasked with connecting with the voters and ensuring they cast their ballot.
Several senior AICC functionaries this paper spoke to acknowledged that the Congress has been suffering from a weak organisation and needs a thorough revamp if it wants to take on the BJP. While the ongoing internal polls, which will culminate with the election for the post of Congress president, are expected to throw up a new set of office-bearers, re-establishing the connect that the party lost with the voters would be Priyanka’s focus area.
Over the past several years, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been providing valuable inputs to Rahul Gandhi. She also restricted herself to campaigning in the Gandhi family strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh despite several demands from the state units.
“She keeps in touch with senior leaders, obtains feedback on party nominees and provides vital inputs to Rahul on campaign management. She will continue to play that role,” a senior AICC functionary said.
Recalling the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign when the BJP was targeting her husband Robert Vadra over his controversial land deals and the Congress couldn’t respond effectively, Priyanka launched a counter-attack.
Ahead of the UP assembly polls this year, Priyanka was the brain behind the SP-Congress alliance and worked hard to iron out the differences over seat-sharing. In January, AICC circles were abuzz with speculations over a bigger party role for her, as Priyanka reviewed the UP strategy with Sonia Gandhi’s close aides Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and several senior state leaders in Rahul’s absence.
In 2012 assembly polls, when the Congress lost all the five seats under Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency and won just two of the five assembly seats in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, Priyanka completely revamped the local party units.