Her decision to hit the road on the Hathras issue came a little bit late.
NEW DELHI: Riding on the issue of the gruesome Hathras incident, the Congress may be trying to regain the lost ground, but the question remains how it can succeed in the political goal without a strong leadership. AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is expected to remain camped in Uttar Pradesh for a longer period of time and take political battle forward from there, is unwilling to leave Delhi.
She has rented a house at Sujan Singh Park in South Delhi. Her decision to hit the road on the Hathras issue came a little bit late. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen with her brother Rahul Gandhi on the road against the Hathras incident only after social media was flooded with comments ridiculing her absence.
Sources say if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had reached Hathras on the first day itself, then the Hathras administration would not have dared to cremate the victim at midnight. The very next day when Congress workers led by Rahul Gandhi were agitating on the roads, it looked that the party had been recharged. After the incident of alleged manhandling with Rahul Gandhi, the Congress workers staged dharna across the country and sent out a strong message to the government. In view of the workers’ enthusiasm, Rahul Gandhi relegated the Punjab rallies to the background and gave priority to the Hathras issue.
When for the second time he marched towards Hathras along with sister Priyanka Vadra, Rahul Gandhi tried to heat up state politics and reenergized the workers. In fact, the Congress had got a big issue in the form of agri bills during the monsoon session. The party was hoping that it would be able to unite opposition parties against legislation like the land acquisition bill. But nothing happened like that. Alliance partners like Shiv Sena and NCP did not show any interest. So, the agitation against farm laws remained confined within Punjab only. However, the Congress has not given up hope despite this.
Even as Rahul Gandhi was getting ready to hit the street against farm laws in Punjab and Haryana, the Hathras issue came up. After this, the party changed its strategy. The party decided to raise the Hathras issue first, pushing the farmers’ issue to second place in the order of priority.
Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government is somewhere at fault in the Hathras episode. The district administration did not handle the issue properly. That is the reason why the Centre had to pressure the Yogi dispensation to act against the officials. That’s not all, some of the leaders were asked to speak up against the Yogi Adityanath government.
The Congress grabbed the much-awaited opportunity and targeted the Yogi Adityanath government as well as the Central dispensation. Even before the Congress would be active the second time, the Yogi Adityanath government suspended police officers and tried to tackle the situation administratively as well as politically. It cannot be said how long this issue will go on, but the Congress has tried to make its presence felt in the state by taking this issue up vehemently. After the massive defeat of the Congress in 2019, Rahul Gandhi has tried to infuse some amount of enthusiasm and energy among the workers of the party in the state.
But the question is whether Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will do full time politics in Uttar Pradesh leaving aside her obsession with Delhi. Two major regional UP parties, BSP and SP, are still ahead of Congress in the state. Top leaders of both the parties live in Lucknow and remain engaged in the politics of the state full time. The Congress, which is out of power for three decades in UP, is still grappling with the issue of absence of a leader who could be of the stature of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. Ajay Kumar Lallu could not leave any impression as UP PCC chief, though he spares no effort to strengthen and improve the party’s position. But Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will have to leave Delhi to salvage the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.