Priyanka Gandhi Enters Electoral Politics Finally. A Look At Her Political Journey So Far

    Priyanka Gandhi Enters Electoral Politics Finally. A Look At Her Political Journey So Far

    New Delhi: A decade after making her formal entry into politics, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has now decided to fight an election, eyeing to enter Parliament. The party has chosen a safe seat for her — Wayanad, the Congress stronghold in Kerala that her brother Rahul Gandhi won twice as a rank outsider in the last two Lok Sabha Elections. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced Priyanka’s name Monday at a special press briefing in New Delhi.

    Deeply rooted in the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family, the daughter of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi is already a prominent figure in Indian politics.    

    ALSO READ | ‘Won’t Let Wayanad Feel Rahul Gandhi’s Absence’: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra On Poll Debut From Kerala

    UP To Kerala — Priyanka Gandhi’s Political Journey And Timeline  

    Priyanka had for a long time managed to stay away from the limelight, though the Congress had wanted her to join politics sooner.  She was, however, supporting Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, campaigning for them. She seemed to prefer a quiet life, away from the media glare.

    That changed in 2008 when she hit the headlines after visiting Nalini Sriharan in a Tamil Nadu jail. Nalini was a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

    But it was not before 2019 that she formally entered politics. However, though she officially entered active politics relatively late, her involvement in the party affairs, and influence on it, have been significant for many years now. She had been actively campaigning for the Congress, particularly in the family strongholds of Amethi and Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh.  

    Priyanka has often been compared to her grandmother, Indira Gandhi, mainly due to her appearance, and partly for her ability to connect with the masses.

    Her entry into the electoral fray from Kerala is on expected lines as the Gandhis did not want to “abandon” Wayanad that accepted Rahul Gandhi with open arms and gave him victory with overwhelming margins — of over 3 lakh votes — both in the 2019 and the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. 

    Addressing a gathering in Kerala’s Malappuram on June 12, days after the Lok Sabha verdict, Rahul had said he was in a dilemma as to which seat he should keep. He, however, the decision he would take would make both constituencies happy. 

    It is to be seen how Priyanka fares in the bypoll, and who she finds as rival candidates from the CPM and the BJP. 

    OPINION | Rahul, Priyanka, Kharge: The Leadership, Strategy & Effort Behind Congress’s 2024 Renaissance

    Priyanka Gandhi’s Political Timeline

    Priyanka Gandhi Vadra started her formal political journey in January 2019, right before of the Lok Sabha Elections. She was appointed the general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge of Eastern UP. Her focus was on reviving the party’s fortunes in the politically crucial state. The party could win only one seat as Sonia Gandhi retained Raebareli.  

    In September 2020, Priyanka was made general secretary in charge of the entire UP.

    In the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, she played a big role in the party, launching several grassroots campaigns aimed at women’s empowerment and youth mobilisation. However, the Congress could win only two seats, though her efforts were seen as a critical step in rebuilding the Congress’s presence in the state.

    The 2024 Lok Sabha elections saw the Congress doing better than before. Contesting as part of the INDIA bloc, the party retained Raebareli once again — Rahul Gandhi contested from this seat as Sonia Gandhi relinquished the seat opting for the Rajya Sabha route to enter Parliament. It also wrested Amethi from BJP’s Smriti Irani, who had handed a humiliating defeat to Rahul in 2019, and won four more seats. Its INDIA ally SP clinched 37 seats, bringing the BJP’s tally to 33 from 63.

    With Rahul at the helm in UP now, Priyanka is all set to play a new role in politics if she wins the Wayanad bypoll. 

    On the personal front, Priyanka Gandhi did her schooling from Convent of Jesus and Mary in New Delhi and later graduated from Delhi University with a degree in Psychology. She married businessman Robert Vadra in 1997, and the couple has two children.

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