Priyanka Gandhi: Post-Rajiv & Sonia era, the daughter rises

Updated: Jan 23, 2019, 11:04 PM(IST)

Priyanka Gandhi was 19 when her father Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Sriperumbudur, Chennai on May 21st, 1991.

Priyanka was 19 at her father's assassination

Priyanka Gandhi was 19 when her father Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Sriperumbudur, Chennai.

According to a book, Nalini Sriharan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra broke down while asking her, 'Why did you do it?'

(Photograph:AFP)

Sonia's campaign manager

In the Indian general election, 2004 she was Sonia Gandhi's campaign manager and helped supervise her brother Rahul Gandhi's campaign.

She is the last one in the fourth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family, after her brother Rahul Gandhi and cousin Varun Gandhi, to step into the political arena.

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Priyanka enters politics

Gandhi family scion Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally entered politics on Wednesday with the Congress appointing her general secretary for Uttar Pradesh east, ending years of speculation and signalling the party's intent to go full throttle in the state ahead of the general elections. 
 

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Priyanka to take charge from February

Priyanka Gandhi will take over her new assignment in the politically crucial state —a Congress bastion till the mid 1980s — from the first week of February.

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Priyanka Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi

She will assist her brother, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in the Hindi heartland state, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the largest of any state in the country.

The appointment is being seen as a masterstroke, which will infuse energy in party workers of a state where Congress influence has been waning over the years and where the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have announced a tie-up.

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'Happy my sister will assist me'

Rahul Gandhi welcomed his sister in active politics and said, 'I am very happy that my sister Priyanka will assist me in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, she is very capable,' Rahul said.
 

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Indira Gandhi's charisma

Long known as a natural in politics who inherited her grandmother Indira Gandhi's charisma, Priyanka Gandhi was earlier actively involved in key decision making in the party along with her mother and brother, including the selection of new chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recently. 

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Priyanka Gandhi worked behind the scenes

This decision will help initiate new thought in Uttar Pradesh and will bring a positive change in its politics, said Rahul Gandhi.

Priyanka Gandhi was also instrumental in initiating the entry of Manpreet Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu in the Punjab Congress.

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Rajiv Gandhi assassination in May, 1991

The Priyanka's great grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, was India's first prime minister following independence from Britain in 1947.

Their grandmother, Indira Gandhi, succeeded him after a brief interval. After she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, her son, Rajiv Gandhi, took over as premier.

Rajiv was killed by an ethnic Tamil suicide bomber while campaigning for a general election in 1991. 

His Italian-born widow, Sonia, initially resisted calls to enter politics before taking the plunge and lifting Congress' flagging fortunes under her family`s brand name.

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Headache for the BJP

Priyanka Gandhi's entry at this stage can once again change the electoral arithmetic of this most populous state in the country which sends the maximum member to India`s lower house.

After the alliance between SP and BSP, the entry of Priyanka Gandhi in politics as in charge of her party's campaign in eastern Uttar Pradesh has increased the headache for the BJP.

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Trump card Priyanka

Being presented as a Congress truimph card, Priyanka Gandhi will not restrict herself to the family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli but lead the campaign in the entire Purvanchal (eastern) belt comprising 24 districts from Amethi to Varanasi. 

The Congress has declared its intent to take on the BJP in the state by also fielding Jyotiraditya Sinha, who is fresh from the poll victory in Madhya Pradesh, as in-charge of western Uttar Pradesh.

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'Priyanka lao, Congress bachao'

Priyanka Gandhi is seen as a dynamic personality and the Congress workers have been protesting since long with slogan, 'Priyanka lao Congress bachao.'

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Eastern UP challenge

Priyanka's task will not be easy as she has been given charge of a region that has not been a Congress bastion of late. The party had won zero out of 30 seats up for grabs here in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, and only managed to place second in one seat - Gorakhpur. 

Congress leaders say Priyanka Gandhi's plunge into active party politics will galvanise the ranks to make them prepared for the massive dual challenge posed by the BJP and the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
 

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X factor for Congress?

Bringing the 47-year-old on board the campaign shows that the Congress is serious in its promise of making the election in UP a triangular contest after the snub from Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.

Soon after the SP-BSP alliance was announced, Rahul Gandhi had said that he has a surprise in store, but few had predicted it be Priyanka's political plunge. 

(Photograph:AFP)

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