Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at an election rally in Raebareli on Friday. (PTI Photo)
Priyanka Gandhi’s first election rally speech in 2017 was disappointing. Much like the speeches of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, it was more rhetoric, less substance. And even some lies. Not only this, it didn’t appear that Priyanka was very much interested in participating or addressing the rally. Her speech lacked the passion of a seasoned politician as she barely spoke for a few minutes, as if obliging the party. Two more things Priyanka conveyed with her speech were — a) She is not very much interested in politics. b) Even if she decides to join politics, she won’t be any better than her sibling and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Prior to her speech in Rae Bareli today, there was much expectation. Congress workers, as well as sympathisers, hoped she would give a new direction to the Congress campaign. So far, Rahul Gandhi’s speeches in the state have failed to create any sort of wave, or even a ripple, in the state in favour of Congress. Had it not been for Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity in the state, Congress would have been probably wiped out of the state even before the elections, unless, of course, it managed to bring paid crowd to its rallies. Reason: Rahul comes with a lot of baggage, of Congress’ own corrupt past during the 10-year of UPA government. When he launches personal comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his words end up as mere jokes, not political weapons to take down the charisma of the PM.
#WATCH: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says, “PM Modi claimed that UP has adopted him, but does UP need to adopt an outsider for development?” pic.twitter.com/ukoyPUPCWx
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 17, 2017
The Prime Minister has settled himself on a morally high position among masses in the battle of perceptions. Especially in states like Uttar Pradesh which has widespread poverty and constitutes mostly of “aam aadmis”, it doesn’t matter how low a politician stoop to attack the opponent. What matters is if he or she is seen in action or perceived to be the one who can act. PM Modi has an edge over the rest of his critiques in UP and Rahul certainly can never match him.
However, Priyanka Gandhi has been argued by many to be possessing the charisma of late PM Indira Gandhi. Many congress workers and sympathisers continue to believe that she can match and beat PM Modi in every aspect. After listening to her speech today, one can easily say that either she is a reluctant politician or overrated. During her speech, Priyanka did the same mistake which Rahul continues to do, and enjoys it as well — that is attacking PM Modi with personal remarks against him.
Commenting on Modi’s Thursday remark that he is the “adopted” son of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka said that the state doesn’t need an “adopted son” for development. Probably she forgot that the same state offered 71 out of 80 seats to PM Modi in 2014. Priyanka’s second swipe was against the PM was on the latter’s frequent comments against atrocities against women in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka said PM Modi committed the biggest atrocity against women by making them stand in queues for money after announcing demonetisation. Drawing parallels between rape/molestation of women with standing in queues for money after note ban is the most foolish thing a politician can do. One could have expected that from Rahul, but hearing such argument from Priyanka shows she is no better than her brother as a politician.
Congress’ biggest enemy is not PM Modi or the BJP. Its biggest enemy is its hypocrisy and tendency to take the voters for a ride. This is what you would also feel when you would find Rahul complaining against underdevelopment in Rae Bareli, which has been Congress’ home constituency for several decades, or Priyanka calling note ban bigger atrocity against women than rape. One hopes the grand old party makes a course correction or continue to stagnate the way it already is.