Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that his party will no longer play on back foot and it was determined to attack the BJP by playing on the front foot. Gandhi was speaking to reporters in Amethi soon after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s name was announced as the new AICC General Secretary for Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
He said, “Congress party is not going to play on the back foot anywhere now. Congress party will now play on the front foot. Congress party is fighting the battle of ideology. Whether it’s Priyanka or Jyotiraditya Scindia, both are powerful leaders of the Congress. We want to change the politics of Uttar Pradesh with the help of these two young leaders.”
When asked if the announcement of Priyanka was to counter the grand alliance comprising the SP and the BSP, Gandhi said that this was not true. The grand alliance, which recently announced the seat sharing agreement against the BJP in UP, had excluded the Congress. Gandhi said, “As I said before, I respect both Mayawati (BSP Chief) ji and Akhilesh (Yadav) ji (SP chief). Mayawati ji and Akhilesh ji formed their alliance. All of us have the same objective, to defeat the BJP. We don’t have any animosity with Mayawati ji or Akhilesh ji.”
Gandhi said that if both the SP and the BSP wanted to hold talks with him for alliance in the state, he wouldn’t have no problem in entertaining such efforts. When asked if Priyanka will also contest this year’s Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said that he had not sent her to Uttar Pradesh for just two months. He said, “I have given a mission to Priyanka and Jyotiraditya to take the Congress mission to people. Our mission is for poor, underprivileged and promote inclusive growth. I am very confident that Priyanka and Jyotiraditya will work towards achieving what Uttar Pradesh desperately need right now.”
When asked to specifically answer Priyanka’s entry in electoral politics, Gandhi said, “That’s up to Priyanka.” He said that he was personally very happy that his ‘hard-working sister’ will work alongside him in politics.
The Congress president had earlier announced that Priyanka Gandhi had been made the All India Congress Committee General Secretary for East UP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The official communication had read, “Honourable Congress President has also appointed Smt Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East. She will be taking charge with effect on first week of February 2019.”
Gandhi is currently visiting his constituency on a two-day tour. Ahead of his visit, he had taken to his Facebook page to write, “I am coming to Amethi. Will be with my people and discuss issues with them. Will keep sharing the details of my story of happiness with you by way of pictures.”
Jyotiraditya Sicndia too was made the AICC General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh West. These appointments assume significance in light of this year’s Lok Sabha polls. The Congress is not a part of the non-BJP grand alliance comprising the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.