The brief appearance of Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, at a meeting of the ruling party in the capital, New Delhi, has sparked speculation over her entry into active politics.
Gandhi’s attendance towards the fag end of a strategy meeting of the Congress on Tuesday at which all senior leaders were present comes amid reports that a major organisational overhaul is on the cards in time for crucial national elections in April-May this year.
However, reacting to the buzz caused by Gandhi’s presence, senior leader Janardhan Dwivedi said she was a member of an important political family.
Dwivedi pointed out that Gandhi has been taking care of her brother Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi’s constituencies – Amethi and Rai Bareli – in northern Uttar Pradesh.
“So, what’s new?” Dwivedi was quoted as saying.
Speculation over a revamp is rife after the Congress performed badly in the recent assembly elections to four states.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already announced that he would not return as prime minister if the Congress won the parliamentary elections.
Singh, at a recent media conference, also hinted that Rahul Gandhi would take over from him.
According to reports, the Congress is expected to announce the changes within the organisation on January 17.
Reacting to the speculation, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said it was an internal matter of the Congress.
Even if Priyanka Gandhi turns active, it would not improve the party’s poll prospects, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi was quoted as telling reporters.
Priyanka Gandhi does not hold any organisational position in the Congress as of now, unlike her elder brother Rahul Gandhi who is the party vice-president.
Their mother Sonia Gandhi joined active politics after the assassination of her husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
The national elections is expected to be fought keenly as the BJP is mounting a huge challenge led by its prime ministerial aspirant and western Gujarat state chief minister Narendra Modi.
Newcomer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is an unknown that is worrying both the Congress and the BJP.