Priyanka Gandhi’s plays crucial role in Congress roping in Sidhu

Amristar,Nov25:The Congress workers and the Janata Dal-United leaders, have welcomed reports of Priyanka Gandhi consenting to campaign for her party, in the upcoming 2017 UP assembly elections, while the BJP said the development may hurt her brother and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s credibility.

Congress Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar said on Friday that Priyanka has accepted the request of party leaders to campaign extensively in the state.

“It has been decided that she will campaign for UP elections. Whenever we will get her schedule, we will use her time accordingly,” Babbar told reporters after a party meeting attended by Priyanka and Rahul on Friday.

In the past too, Priyanka has attended the party’s strategy discussions on UP for both Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

During September, when Navjot Singh Sidhu met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the first time, he could not help commenting that she bore a stark resemblance to her grandmother, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In return, Priyanka said he was her favourite sportsman during her childhood. This mutual admiration laid the foundation for the former opening batsman to form an alliance with Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly election in Punjab, sources in the party said.

Although Sidhu has not formally joined Congress, his wife, Navjot Kaur, and close aide and Olympian Pargat Singh will sign on the dotted line on November 28.

In fact, after the deal was struck with the Sidhus on Wednesday evening, it was Priyanka who made the first calls to Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Congress leader in charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari and asked them to meet the Sidhus, party sources said. Amarinder had initially agreed to the Sidhus joining Congress only if there were no preconditions but later softened his stand.

Political strategist Prashant Kishor had facilitated the initial meeting between the Sidhus and Priyanka. Kishor has known Sidhu from the time the ex-cricketer was a BJP MP from Amritsar and had campaigned in the 2012 assembly election in Gujarat, giving Narendra Modi a crucial win ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.