• Created on Saturday, 21 January 2012 21:09
  • Published on Friday, 20 January 2012 19:00
  • Written by Punyatma Sharan, Founder/CEO - PolityIndia.Com, has a BA (Political Science) from India and MBA (Finance) from USA.

PriyankaIt seems a little too early to say anything.

The filing of nomination papers for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections started on January 21 and even the most inactive of our so called politicians got a shot of adrenaline and either were lobbying to get a ticket or were busy going through a strategy session of their political party to either secure a majority for their party or get enough seats to get the status of a potential and formidable '˜Dulha' who would be cultivated and cajoled by other parties for an alliance.

The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly election is due to be held over seven phases in 2012 after the five-year term of the incumbent government expires following an election in 2007. The incumbent chief minister is Mayawati, whose Bahujan Samaj Party previously won an absolute majority of seats. Uttar Pradesh is the largest province in India, in terms of both population and landmass, despite a bifurcation to create Uttaranchal. It is also considered politically important because of the number of seats it returns to the Lok Sabha (80) and as including the constituencies of such nationally notable figures as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Varun Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi of the Nehru-Gandhi family dynasty. The legislative assembly has 403 seats, 206 of which were won by the BSP in the previous election.

While all the political parties are making all kinds of promises to the voters to garner their votes and are also busy submitting the names of their star campaigners to the Election Commission, the election assumed more significance when Priyanka Gandhi said on Tuesday that 'I will campaign in UP if Rahul wants me to, I will do anything for my brother'. Priyanka's remark, repeated several times during her meeting with reporters, was welcomed by the Congress rank and file, with UPCC election committee chief Raj Babbar, also an MP from Firozabad, saying, "Candidates are keen to use her presence as their lucky charm. Demands (for her to campaign) are coming in from all quarters." He added, "I am planning to send a formal request to the UPCC president. But the ultimate decision will be taken by the top leadership."

There is no doubt that this kind of announcement by Priyanka Gandhi was not just an off the cuff casual statement. It was part of a very well calculated strategy...nothing happens in the Congress party without giving it a very serious thought...even the irresponsible utterances by Digvijay Singh is very well planned. Priyanka Gandhi had in the past restricted her political activities to Rai Bareli and Amethi parliamentary constituencies...represented by her mother and brother. Her words cannot but be part of a calibrated strategy that has been put into motion for UP.

I was a little surprised with this announcement at this time. I had no doubts in my mind that she will take the plunge in the 2014 parliamentary elections. She is the inevitable need of the Congress party. The party's image and reputation has been blackened, tarnished and maligned by 2G, CWG and so many other scams. It is hard to say if the party is chasing scams or the scams are chasing the Congress party. They feel the need to do something to deflect the attention from the scams to the election issues and they have tried everything in the past including hectic campaigning by Rahul Gandhi and it has not worked. The Congress party contested all the 243 assembly seats in Bihar in 2010 and in spite of Rahul Gandhi's hectic campaigning, the party won only 4 seats. It seems that Sonia Gandhi has finally realized that Rahul Gandhi does not have what it takes to lead the party. I feel that Rahul Gandhi is more like Abhishek Bachchan, who gives movies after movies but cannot become a star. 

Even though I am very much against dynasty politics, I also believe in the right of every individual to take part in a democracy. We should not take this right away because they happen to be the son or daughter of a particular person. I strongly believe that the responsibility of getting into politics for people with a very strong name recognition is with that person and not with the electorate. There is a very big number of voters in our country who are not educated and are not able to understand the details of the issues and the policies. It is very easy for them to get swayed by a big and famous name like Gandhi. It is totally incumbent upon the candidates to ask themselves some basic questions:

Am I ready for public service?
If I am ready for public service, is getting into politics the right way to do it?
Am I educated and intelligent enough to understand the issues?
Can I deliver what the electorate expects of me?

If the answer to these questions is a positive yes, they should take the plunge into politics. If not, they should wait until all the answers becomes a yes. If the son or daughter of an actor becomes an actor, it does not affect the national politics. If a politicians son or daughter does a bad job, it affects the national polity. The name recognition can get them votes but the votes could not translate into parliamentary talent.

I do not have any problems with Priyanka Gandhi being a part of the mainstream Indian politics, whatsoever, I only want her to be totally ready. Experimenting with power is a dangerous thing for the country. She should depend on people who are intelligent and pragmatic and not surround herself with chamchas and sycophants. She should work very hard as Priyanka and try to earn the confidence and respect of the Indian people and not just thrust herself upon them. She should not do just politics, she should try to do the right thing.


-1 # Ashok Motwani 2012-01-22 00:25
Quite surprised that Congress kept her out for so long - She is NOT only Lucky Charm but she will come out as THE TRUMP CARD. Major advantage is 18/28 year age group will GO TO POLLING BOOTHS AND START VOTING, so far they have been border cases with RICH share of almost 1/3 of total...She will definitely excite Young Voters, Let us see How far she succeeds in swaying them her party way...BUT SHE WILL BE GREAT EFFECT for Sure. Well a few Days More for Results:
-1 # Bhushan Nadda 2012-01-22 00:35
I wonder if Priyanka charm will really work.
+1 # Ajay Sinha 2012-01-22 01:03
Wonder whether individuals will weigh more or the right caste equation. Maya had a swing in the last election because of Brahmin votes, Mulayam has been deserted by the Rajputs and OBC will not vote for Congress, BJP is the dark horse.
# Dr Daya Dayal 2012-01-22 01:12
Which sister on this earth will not give comment what Priyanka stated? What is so great about it except the media's role of blowing it out of proportion...a fact which only Indian print media can afford for its standard is right at the base!! Imagine Wadhera, a non entity rising to stardom courtsey Gandhis family alliance can he afford to keep his wife away from it. So let this matter remain a non entity please!!
# Anant Sharma 2012-01-22 09:20
It is a real tragedy for India that one family has ruled the country for nearly 80% of the the time since independence, directly or indirectly and this is aristocracy by any standards and not democracy. Given this situation, people still love outer beauty and charm to select their leaders rather than capability, performance and strength of character, conviction and leadership. No wonder we have governance deficit in today's India where corruption is rampant and political leadership is devoid of vision and ideas. I am sure as more and more people in India get educated and think freely and deeply, they will select the right leadership to lead this beautiful country.
-1 # Ashok Motwani 2012-01-22 09:29
While I am writing this, Priyanka is on Indian TV & side pose looks so much like her Grand Mother – If she gets in to full time politics, she will rise to fill up gap of youngsters in Business of Politics. May be Congress Dream Team could be Priyanka, Rahul, Jyotiraditya &...under Pranab Da as Political Guru can work for Congress? Frankly:
+1 # Dr Chirag A Shah 2012-01-22 09:38
I was under the impression that to run a country like India, we need people with proven record of success in public work etc. Charm should be the least important factor. If Priyanka is successful in making Congress win, we would be certifying ourselves as "country not worth improving". Then we should rope in all Bollywood. I find Narayan Murthy more appealing when it comes to a public office. Always Hopeful about Indian Dream.
# Jagat Motwani 2012-01-22 11:48
Charm, along with political wisdom and vision, is a great plus for political success. Priyanka's charm is more appealing than Madhuri and Ash because it is associated with dynasty, more inclined to the West. Sardar Patel would not have been able to integrate Bharat into one solid giant world personality if he had listened to his boss Nehru who was more Westerner than Bharatiya(India n). Hyderabad, Jhunagarh, Kashmir, etc would have been Pakistans within Bharat.
# Ranjit Sinha 2012-01-22 11:52
The problem with India is that who ever comes in power, it behaves much like the outgoing party. This reminds me of an old saying. Once upon a time a demon lived in a castle near a village. He used to terrorise the vlllagers, took their money. The villagers lived in fear. But one young man decided to challenge him. He took his sword and asked him to fight a duel. After some skirmishes, the demon was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, he asked the young man to come closer to him. When the young man went near him, the dying demon smiled and said that demons never die. He pointed to riches around him and then he said that the young man will become him, tempted by all the money and wealth.
# Anjali Vajpayee 2012-01-23 19:13
I do not have any problem with Priyanka Gandhi joining politics. She should do her homework before taking the plunge. It seems that the Congress party would be dead without her.
+1 # Sanjay Pawar 2012-01-23 19:15
If Priyanka becomes a successful politician only because of her last name, India would be taking a step backward.
# Rakhee Sharma 2012-01-23 19:20
If Priyanka can act like a responsible politician and not surround herself with sycophants, I am all for her. She should try to clean her party and not become a part of it.
# Kalpana Rastogi 2012-01-24 08:53
If she was so sincere, she would have joined before only certainly not at the time of elections. Have you heard of any project, any social work, any issue which is asssociated with her name? She just comes out once in a while during election times and thats it. She has a powerful stature and could have done a lot...but alas. So for me, she is again making a special guest appearance...so ...like a solid item number in a bollywood style. And then khallas...
# Mukta Dhar 2012-01-25 20:38
It is tragic that the party of Nehru and Shastri is counting on Rahul and Priyanka to revive the party. I feel that Indian voters have grown up and there is no room for Priyanka's theatrics in our political system.
+1 # Sanjay Singh 2012-01-25 20:41
I agree with Kalpana Rastogi that Priyanka's political campaigning is like an item number in a bollywood movie.
# Anamika Mishra 2012-01-25 20:50
I wonder what would the family do if Priyanka's grand entry into full time politics does not succeed...Rahul is already a big failure. We have to ask them that what is their worth if they drop Gandhi as their last name?
# Manidipa Sanyal 2012-01-27 08:42
Priyanka is just trying to encash on her similarity of looks she has with her grandmother. Our voters will be wooed by her as Indira Gandhi's granddaughter. She has not done anything outstanding, for which she needs to be given so much attention. This is one of the drawbacks of democracy, the party high command will decide who should be brought to limelight.
+1 # Tavish B Prasad 2012-01-31 08:34
No matter what commoners wish, in India it is a brutal fact that we are still ruled by, so called, "DYNASTY POLITICS".


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