Priyanka attends Congress meeting, triggers talk of bigger role
Priyanka Vadra, sister of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Tuesday attended a meeting of senior party leaders at his house, triggering speculation of her greater involvement in the party ahead of the general elections.
The meeting at Rahul Gandhi's 12 Tughlak Lane residence was held as the party is making preparations for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting later this month.
There is speculation that Rahul Gandhi could be declared the party's prime ministerial candidate at the meeting.
Party sources said several members of the Congress election coordination committee, including party president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, union minister Jairam Ramesh, general secretaries Madhusudan Mistry and Janardan Dwivedi and media department incharge Ajay Maken, were also present at the meeting.
It was not clear if Rahul Gandhi was present.
Looking after the constituencies of her brother (Amethi) and mother (Rae Bareli), Priyanka Vadra, who is considered charismatic by the party rank and file, is a year younger to her brother and will turn 42 on Jan 12.
Her presence at the meeting created a buzz in party circles, with many speculating whether she would take an active role in the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections to be held in April-May.
The party, however, down-played Priyanka's presence at the meeting.
Dwivedi told reporters that Priyanka Vadra was a member of an important political family.
"Even if she is not seen taking part in active politics, she is an active member of the Indian National Congress," he said.
"She has her own views on political issues and talks to party workers from time to time. If on some issue, she has talked to some leaders, what is there to be surprised about? What is new in this," he said.
A Congress leader, not wishing to be identified, told IANS that Priyanka joined the meeting towards the end.
He said the meeting was called to discuss the tour programmes of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress, which suffered heavily in the recently-held assembly polls, is facing a stiff challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party has added to the complications.
(Posted on 08-01-2014)