Former Union minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief on Wednesday said Ms Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is “there in politics” and takes “centrestage” in party affairs because she has “greater mass appeal”.
“Priyanka is there in politics. She is taking care of the constituencies (Rae Bareli and Amethi) of her mother and brother. Why should she not take centrestage because she has greater mass appeal?” Mr Sharief said.
Mr Sharief is the second leader after Mr Vasant Sathe who feels that Priyanka should play a greater role. “This is the family — Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka — which can hold the country together. That is the beauty of the family. They can work together as a team and if you have mass appeal, you don’t need allies,” he said.
He further said he “entirely endorsed” Mr Sathe’s plea that Priyanka should play a more active role to help the party get back to power on its own in the 2014 elections by discarding the “crutches”.
Noting that “no other leader has greater acceptability than them”, Mr Sharief wanted both Priyanka and Rahul to help their Mrs Gandhi in her task as the “country is large”.
There is need for “more dynamic and charismatic” leaders in the organisation at the present juncture, the former Union minister said.
Both Mr Sharief and Mr Sathe are loyalists of the Gandhi-Nehru family and worked with the late Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Mr Sharief felt that Priyanka becoming active in party affairs would not in any way affect the projection of Rahul as the future leader and potential Prime Minister by the party. Mr Gandhi has made “inroads” into the youth and students who are always known to be anti-establishment, he said.
The Congress has been maintaining that it was left to Priyanka as to what she wanted to pursue in life.
As regards the Congress prospects in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, which is Rahul’s Mission Uttar Pradesh 2012, Mr Sharief kept his fingers crossed. “We can tell only when we cross the bridge in UP,” he said.
Taking stock of the Assembly results, he suggested there was nothing much to write home about except the victory in Assam for the third time in a row. “In West Bengal, we are a minor partner and Mamata Banerjee has a major share and in TN, our calculations have gone wrong. In Kerala, we are reduced…,” he said. Asian Age