With catchy slogans like “Hai Ganga Ki Beti, Jo Jeetegi UP” doing the rounds through colourful banners and posters dotting the Kumbh Mela area, the entry of Priyanka Gandhi is surrounded by an air of excitement and euphoria among Congress workers and locals alike. It appears that the city, which has earned the distinction of producing at least five Prime Ministers of the country, and also being the hometown of Nehru-Gandhi family, is suddenly alive for reasons best known to all.
Even though it is also a fact that the Congress party has never won the Allahabad parliamentary seat since 1988, after the exit of cinestar Amitabh Bachchan, who resigned from the seat, an element of optimism has crept into the local leaders and party workers after the announcement of Priyanka’s entry into active politics. Enquiries about her impending visit to the city, along with her brother and national party president, Rahul Gandhi, have already begun from veteran party leaders who until now had decided to confine themselves indoors, away from active politics, said UPCC spokesperson Kishore Varshney.
He added that although the itinerary of the two is not clear, but the mood among partymen and the public is filled with positivity and enthusiasm.
Young Congress leaders now believe that their voices will be heard more than before
But on the other hand, there are others like veteran Congress leader and President, Allahabad Muharram Jhoola Committee, Ghulam Rasool, who are keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome of the visit. He feels that a lot depends on how the earlier vote bank of the Congress, including Muslims, Brahmins and Dalits, react to this development. If a small section of them returns to the Congress fold, than things are going to be very rosy for the Congress party in the coming days and certainly Priyanka has the ability to swing them back, he says.
Another senior leader and former city mayor, Chaudhary Jitendra Nath Singh, opined, “As per my opinion, a lot depends on how the young voters, including the youth aged between 18 to 25 years, express their priority because they are the ones who will be going to vote in large numbers and play a deciding role. Obviously, Priyanka has the charismatic personality to impress their minds.”
Further, she has the ability to change the perception of voters from all classes and age groups and it is an undeniable fact that this quality of any leader has shown astounding results in the Hindi heartland in 2014 and 2017, and UP happens to be the center.
However, this must also be kept in mind that apart from senior party leaders and workers, it is the new generation of Congress leaders who have managed to successfully keep alive the Congress banner despite its dismal performance in 2014 parliamentary elections. For them, the entry of Priyanka into formal politics and elevation of Rahul has come as a shot in the arm, as they feel that now their voices would be heard more in the party. Young leaders like Haseeb Ahmad, Abhin Kishore and Irshad Ullah have become popular faces even though they do not occupy any post in the party organisation. The reason is simple. They have that uncanny skill of projecting themselves and the party amidst a crowd of leaders from parties like BJP, SP and BSP through their articulacy and creative acumen, designing eye-catching posters and banners and putting them at prominent places drawing the attention of national media.
The bottom line is that the spirits of Congressmen are sky high and they are willing to rally behind their leader. How things change in the coming days, though, is yet to be seen.