Priyanka Gandhi Creates Buzz Around Congress, But Real Challenge Lies Ahead

Priyanka’s attempts to take on the BJP government in the past too had created a similar buzz around the leader but the euphoria would soon die down as the party could not take the momentum forward.


Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s aggression, this time over the alleged killing of four farmers by a Union minister’s convoy in Lakhimpur Kheri, has charged up the Congress ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls but the real challenge for the party is to take the momentum forward.

Priyanka’s quick response to the gruesome incident not only showcased her as a courageous leader, the episode lifted the spirits of the Congress workers and presented the grand old party as a viable option over regional players Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tried to catch up but was detained in Lucknow while BSP leader SC Mishra cited similar reasons to explain his party’s absence at ground zero.

Surprisingly, the BJP, which used to dub Priyanka’s earlier protests as political tourism, seemed rattled by her bold move, and, in the process of trying to block her entry, ended up giving a major boost to the Congress leader.

Priyanka Gandhi was seen questioning UP Police about the grounds on which she was being detained. (Image Source: Web)


The visuals of Priyanka countering the police before being detained in Hargaon, sweeping the floor of the room where she was detained, openly challenging the chief minister before getting arrested in neighboring Sitapur, generated huge support for the leader.

Priyanka’s detention in Hargaon, where she did not receive any formal communication from the police even after 38 hours, and the following arrest in Sitapur, which saw the leader being kept in a PAC guest house instead of a police station, raised questions about illegalities of the government actions.

As chief ministers of Congress-ruled Punjab and Chhattisgarh, Charanjit Singh Channi and Bhupesh Baghel, reached Lucknow to reinforce Priyanka’s protests, charged up party workers kept night-long candle light vigil outside the venues where she was detained.

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who was monitoring the developments from Delhi, too visited Priyanka but not before sufficient drama unfolded at the Lucknow airport, where the government wanted him to travel in a police car.

Rahul Gandhi, Punjab and Chhattisgarh CM meet families of Lakhimpur victims. (Image Source: Congress)


Better sense prevailed among the government as it finally allowed Rahul to travel in his own car and also released Priyanka, enabling the Gandhi siblings to meet the families of the victims.

Party veterans Salman Khurshid and Pramod Tewari too were not allowed to reach Lakhimpur Kheri prompting the former to compare Priyanka’s October 3 arrest with that of Indira Gandhi’s in 1977.

That was also a reiteration of the political legacy that Priyanka often invokes while campaigning in the state, suitably aided by a close resemblance to her late grandmother who was a former prime minister.

Khurshid, a former union minister, claimed the arrest of party’s UP in charge was a turning point in history.

While the coming weeks will test that claim, the current face-off with the BJP government has presented the Congress with both an opportunity and a challenge to shore up its poor electoral track record in the past.

The Real Challenge Before Congress

Priyanka’s attempts to take on the BJP government in the past too had created a similar buzz around the leader but the euphoria would soon die down as the party could not take the momentum forward.

Be it the visit to the Hathras gang-rape victim in October last year or arranging buses for the migrants traveling back home on foot during the first wave of pandemic in May 2020 or even the silent protest at the feet of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Lucknow against local poll violence in July this year, Priyanka’s aggression against the BJP government in UP had made headlines and had drawn applause even from her critics.

However, all these high-voltage protests could not get become mass agitations against the ruling party due to lack of organizational strength. Unfortunately, the problem is not new.

Priyanka Gandhi consoles mother of Hathras victim. (Image Source: Web)


Over the past three decades the biggest challenge faced by the Congress while projecting itself as a strong option was that the party leadership was never seen fighting the ruling party of the day be it SP, BSP or BJP.

As a result, the workers too suffered from low morale and could not support large-scale protest movements initiated by the party leaders.

Party insiders acknowledged that Priyanka’s aggression over the past few days had dramatically changed past public perception about the Congress and could be used effectively to improve its vote share and number of seats in the coming assembly elections.

In June, Priyanka had visited Ritu Singh, an SP worker, who had faced violence during the local body polls in Lakhimpur Kheri and later joined the Congress.

The SP hit back by taking in prominent Congress leaders in Bundelkhand Gayadeen Anuragi and Vinod Chaturvedi into its fold last week.

The SP has a better organization than the Congress in the state. The BSP too has its committed workers though the party has been weakened over the years.

To counter them, the Congress had been planning to launch an aggressive campaign for the next year’s poll battle. Fortunately, the party has got a solid starting point in the Lakhimpur Kheri tragedy.

All eyes are now on Priyanka’s planned rally in Varanasi, PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency, on October 10 and the subsequent “pratigya yatras” the party plans across UP to expand its footprints in the rural areas.

The rally could be used by the party to step up its attack on the state government over the gruesome incident which has generated public sympathy for the farmers.


After trying to stop Priyanka from meeting the families of victims initially, the state government blocked entry for Congress and other opposition leaders as well ostensibly to maintain law and order in the area.

The state government was in a fix as the Congress leader was constantly labelling it as insensitive and demanding that Ashish Mishra, son of union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra, be arrested for allegedly being in the car that mowed down the farmers.

Priyanka’s video statement highlighting the irony that she was in detention while the accused were roaming free, had an immediate impact on the voters.

By the time the administration realized its folly and allowed Rahul and Priyanka to travel to Lakhimpur Kheri with a limit of five persons, the Congress’ UP in charge had gained a significant lead in the state politics.

Over to the state unit to capitalize on it.

Dear Readers,
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.

Related posts