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  Opinion   Edit  28 Apr 2019  Congress slipped up on Priyanka-Modi buzz

Congress slipped up on Priyanka-Modi buzz

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 28, 2019, 2:40 am IST
Updated : Apr 28, 2019, 2:40 am IST

Nevertheless, it is evident that the move was both unnecessary and unwarranted.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
 Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

For a variety of reasons, perhaps to do with local factors rather than an overarching national narrative in the main, the voting behaviour in the Lok Sabha election is yet to reveal a clear-cut pattern or profile.

This is inspite of the kinetic energy being sought to be driven by the ruling party into its campaign by hammering on the themes of terrorism, communalism and “nationalism”. And this seems especially true of Uttar Pradesh on account of the presence of a multiple of variables.

Therefore, to think that the decision of the Congress not to field Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Varanasi in a face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give that party a decided setback — as has been suggested in some quarters — is to overlook the larger forces at play.

There was indeed a tantalising aspect to the speculation — fuelled by over-read statements of Ms Vadra herself as well as by her brother Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president. But any realistic reading of politics would have made it plain that this was not even a remote prospect.

The reason is that it had been made clear in public by the Congress president right at the beginning that the charge of eastern UP being given to Ms Vadra to manage as general secretary in the period of the Lok Sabha polls was meant to be a stepping stone to get the party organisation ready for the next Assembly election in the state due in January 2022. This is why, while the Congress is fighting on nearly all the 80 Lok Sabha seats, it is thought to be focusing on around 25, which are likely to constitute the nucleus of its effort for the next Assembly polls in the state.

In the event, the prospect of Ms Vadra coming off second best in Varanasi ran the risk of undercutting the leader around whom the Congress' plans for the next Assembly polls in UP revolve, for there can be little question that Mr Modi is unbeatable in Varanasi unless miracles happen.

In light of this, the Congress’ psychological games in letting slip, and then letting the speculation build, that Ms Vadra might just be the Congress candidate from the famous temple town, was a pointless tactical manoeuvre that appears to have not been thought through at all.

It is another matter that neither the BJP nor any other party is in a position to benefit from the Congress’ failed tactic as the factors that are likely to count in UP are entirely different, where there seems to be a constituency by constituency battle on the cards, dependent mainly on caste and partly class configurations, besides calculations based on the likely voting behaviour of religious communities. Nevertheless, it is evident that the move was both unnecessary and unwarranted.

Tags: terrorism, narendra modi, rahul gandhi