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BJP tasks its cadre with assessing Priyanka factor

January 24, 2019 06:23 AM


Manish Chandra Pandey n manish.pandey@htlive.com
BJP tasks its cadre with assessing Priyanka factor

The Congress’s surprise move to launch Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 47, in politics, has led to the BJP activating its ‘booth level cadre’ to assess the ‘Priyanka factor’, people familiar with the matter indicated.

The BJP move comes just a week before party chief Amit Shah is expected to visit Lucknow on January 30.

Priyanka has been given her first-ever official party assignment as a Congress general secretary in-charge of east Uttar Pradesh.

In her role as Congress’s key leader in Purvanchal, she is very likely to be tasked with charting out the party’s plans in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, who had plans to assess the impact of the SP-BSP alliance in their regional level meeting that got underway from Wednesday, admitted that Priyanka could be the X factor of politics, a point that political experts agree with.

She is now expected in Lucknow in the first or second week of February.

Congress leaders in UP said they were unaware of the party plan, but added that a joint rally by Congress chief Rahul and his sister and party general secretary Priyanka in Lucknow in February was “very likely.”

The party is expected to book Lucknow’s biggest rally ground - Ramabai Ambedkar Maidanfor Priyanka’s launch, leaders said. The BJP is also lining up rallies of its top leaders.

Athar Hussain of the Centre of Objective Research and Development said, “Politics is as much a game of perception and since the announcement, the Congress is dominating political discussions. But now the SP-BSP coalition and the Congress must ensure that they don’t end up damaging each other. The Congress chief has done the right thing by saying that all of them have a common goal of defeating the BJP.”

“I would rather prefer that the Congress also joins the SP-BSP alliance so that everyone realises that there is no match for PM Modi,” said UP minister Swatantra Dev Singh.

But in private discussions, BJP leaders admitted that by springing the ‘Priyanka surprise’ the Congress had taken a “psychological edge” similar to the BJP’s decision to field its then PM candidate Narendra Modi from Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Priyanka’s official entry in UP was a topic of discussion among BJP leaders in the state, who however, maintained a near similar line that ‘Priyanka-entrymeans-Rahul-fail’ while giving reactions on the issue.

BJP’s senior leaders including party’s UP incharge JP Nadda, his two deputies Narottam Mishra and Gordhan Zadaphia, UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and two deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma have been tasked with collecting reports from across the state.

In the first regional level meeting featuring Oudh region, UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and Gordhan Zadaphia interacted with the party leaders and collected inputs.

The next regional level meeting of Kanpur-Bundelkhand region is planned in Kanpur for January 25 and 26. This meeting would feature state’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Zadaphia. This would be followed by a meeting of Braj region on January 27 in which UP in-charge JP Nadda and deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma would be present. From January 26 to 28, the party would hold meetings of Gorakhpur region featuring chief minister Yogi Adityanath. JP Nadda would be present for the west region meeting on January 29.

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