Priyanka Gandhi starts campaign with swipe at Narendra Modi
Raebareli – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today urged voters in Uttar Pradesh to reject Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP. “You have to decide whether you want politics where strength and power lies in the hands of the people or is vested in just one man,” she said at a public meeting in Raebareli.
The 42-year-old is not running for Parliament but is managing the campaigns of her mother Sonia and older brother Rahul who are the top two leaders of the Congress.
The Congress is expected to accrue a huge defeat. The party has tried to pitch the opposition BJP, forecast by opinion polls to win the most seats, as a party that indulges in communalism, and Mr Modi, its prime ministerial candidate, as an autocrat.
Earlier this week, in a three-minute televised appeal, Priyanka’s mother, Sonia, who is the Congress President, described the BJP’s vision as “clouded with hatred and falsehood” and their ideology as “divisive and autocratic”.
Priyanka took the same line today. “No matter how hard the BJP tries, their communalism is ingrained,” she said.
Yesterday, she delivered a direct attack on her estranged cousin, Varun Gandhi, who is a BJP leader, declaring that she could not forgive him for aligning with a party that is not secular.
“This is not a family tea party. It is an ideological war. (I) would not have forgiven my child, if he did something like this,” she said in Amethi.
He retaliated by declaring that his “inherent decency and large-heartedness should not be construed as weakness by anyone.”
Those comments brought to the fore a long-running estrangement in India’s most famous political dynasty.
Varun is the son of Sanjay Gandhi, the younger of former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s sons who died in an air crash in 1980. Rahul and Priyanka are children of the elder son and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber in 1991.