Congress sources said on Tuesday that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra — daughter of party president Sonia Gandhi and sister of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi — would limit her campaigning for the upcoming UP Assembly election to only Amethi and Rae Bareli, ending speculations on how far she would go to reach out to voters.
"Priyanka ji has always defined her own political role and of her own volition, has restricted it to the two (Lok Sabha) constituencies represented by her mother and brother, that is Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told PTI in Goa.
But why just these two constituencies when Priyanka has been announced as one of the star campaigners of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh? Here are five reasons that could be behind the decision:
1. Keeping the mystery: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is not a politician, or at least not has been one so far. However, her brushes with politics include the time she gave Narendra Modi a strong reply in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when he said that she was like his daughter. Exposing her true potential at a state-level election would not be something the Congress might want to do. It would rather keep her for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and use her charisma and influence to unseat Modi.
2. Test run: Amethi and Rae Bareli could be test runs for Priyanka, given her mother Sonia Gandhi is currently out of the campaigning schedule. The two pocket-boroughs may help the Congress gauge the true political potential of Priyanka.
3. Limited political ambitions: There is always the possibility that Priyanka herself has limited political ambitions, and may not want a big role in the party and its workings. She may have taken up campaigning to provide some boost to the party, but may not want to come in the way of brother Rahul Gandhi, who is expected to take over as Congress president sooner rather than later.
4. Shielding Rahul Gandhi: One reason Priyanka Gandhi is campaigning only in Amethi and Rae Bareli could be that she is shielding her brother Rahul Gandhi from any adverse reaction that could come from a poor electoral performance by the Congress in these two areas.
5. Minimising backlash: Finally, Priyanka herself is not infallible. And if the Congress had a dismal show overall despite her statewide campaigning, her aura would have been minimised and she would have faced strong backlash from within the party. It is quite possible that Priyanka has limited — or may have been advised to limit — her campaigning to two constituencies to avoid this backlash.