With the general elections only months away, Congress President Rahul Gandhi appointed sister Priyanka Gandhi as the party General Secretary for the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

The political entry of Priyanka has always been a matter of speculation. On Monday, the party formally announced she will take charge of the Eastern Uttar Pradesh with immediate effect.

The Congress also elevated up and coming new generation leader KC Venugopal as its general secretary in charge of Organisation.

Priyanka's blockbuster entry at the cusp of Lok Sabha elections 2019 definitely means that the party smells blood. Incidentally, she will assume charge of the eastern part of the state, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi falls. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath's power base of Gorakhpur is also in the same region.

Priyanka Gandhi
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.Reuters file

Priyanaka's formal political entry also happens after the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) cold-shouldered Congress when they formed an electoral alliance last week.

Congress would be hoping that Priyanka's entry would boost its potential in the state, which elects as many as 80 MPs.

Significantly, Jyotiraditya Scindia, another young beacon in the party, was given the charge in western Uttar Pradesh.

"I have given the UP mission to Priyanka and Jyotiraditya for two months..." Rahul Gandhi said.

Many times during the last decade, the Congress rank and file have clamoured for Priyanka's entry into politics. The demand was vociferous each time Rahul Gandhi faced an electoral fiasco.

Many in the Congress party believe that Priyanka would be able to bring back the Indira Gandhi magic and lift the party's fortune in the crucial hour.

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Priyanka, 47, has campaigned actively in previous elections, mainly in the constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi from where her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul have contested.

Though Congress rank and file always thought she was the right political heir to Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi, she chose to operate from behind the scenes for many long years.

Wednesday's development changes that completely and she will be thrown into the political melting pot in India's heartland.

There were speculations in the past that Sonia Gandhi was not keen on Priyanka's political entry. However, the current decision would not have come without Sonia's approval. It looks like the Congress matriarch has chosen the best possible time for her daughter's plunge into full-time politics.

Congress' impressive performance in the five assembly elections last month has cemented Rahul's status as the unquestioned leader of the party. Hence, the entry of Priyanka at this point will not be interpreted as a weak party's search for alternative leadership.

Moreover, the party believes that Priyanka will galvanise the cadres in the electorally crucial state of UP. She is by far the right successor of Indira Gandhi in popular culture, bearing the image and likeness of the greatest crowd puller the party has ever produced.