Archive for ‘Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’

11/02/2019

“It’s like Indira’s come back”: India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty rolls on

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the latest entrant into politics from India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, made her debut on Monday with a roadshow drawing thousands to see her in the most populous state, months before a general election due to be held by May.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi pulled a surprise last month by appointing his younger sister a party general secretary. She will also be its face in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament and is currently dominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But a string of BJP defeats in state elections late last year and rising discontent over a weak farm economy and lacklustre jobs growth have weakened Modi’s position, which an increasingly aggressive Congress is looking to capitalize on.

Congress hopes that the eyeballs she’s able to generate will turn into votes.

“It’s like Indira Gandhi has come back,” said Fuzail Ahmed Khan, 45, a Congress supporter. “The state’s farmers want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister, Priyanka to be chief minister.”

Indira Gandhi, India’s only woman prime minister and known as the “Iron Lady”, was criticised for suspending civil liberties for nearly two years starting in 1975. The Hindu nationalist BJP calls Priyanka’s appointment an extension of Congress’s “dynastic politics”.

Posters of Priyanka lined the streets of the state capital, Lucknow, and hundreds of Congress supporters, accompanied by drummers, chanted her name as she emerged from the airport with her brother.

The siblings continuously waved at supporters from atop a bus and then later from an SUV during the drive from the airport to their state office.

At a stopover, Rahul Gandhi grabbed a microphone and said the appointments of Priyanka and lawmaker Jyotiraditya Scindia as state party leaders were aimed at beyond the general election and bringing Congress into power in Uttar Pradesh.

“If there is a heart of the country, it is Uttar Pradesh,” he said to loud cheers, Priyanka standing by his side. “They’re definitely focused on the parliamentary election but the aim also is to form a government in the state. We’ll bring a government of youth, poor and peasants.”

But it won’t be easy for the brother-sister combination in Uttar Pradesh, a poor state of 220 million people where two regional caste-based parties now compete for power with the BJP and Congress is only a marginal player.

The BJP won 73 of the 80 seats in the state in the last general election. BJP President Amit Shah said last week the party would win 74 seats there this year.

Although Priyanka has helped manage elections for her brother and her mother, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, she has never held an official party post until now.

“I hope that we can together start a new kind of politics,” she said in an audio message shared by Congress, but she did not make a speech in Lucknow amid fears, political analysts say, she could overshadow her brother.

Since the announcement of Priyanka’s entry into politics, India’s financial crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate has questioned her husband, Robert Vadra, in a case relating to alleged ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad. His lawyer and Congress have dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Priyanka, who drew more 78,000 followers soon after joining Twitter on Monday and even before sending a single tweet, will spend three days in Lucknow meeting workers from more than 40 constituencies.

From 21 seats in the 2009 general election in Uttar Pradesh, Congress’ tally fell to just two in 2014.

Source: Reuters

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11/02/2019

Priyanka Gandhi on stage, Rahul says time to win Uttar Pradesh back

Rahul Gandhi,Congress president,Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary (incharge of east UP) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to the UPCC headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday underlined his party’s ambitions in Uttar Pradesh saying the party cannot afford to be weak in the state.

‘Congress started in UP and it cannot stay weak here. Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiarditya Scindia will make Congress strong in UP again,’ Rahul said at headquarters in UP unit of the Congress in Lucknow at the end of a mammoth road show that his sister Priyanka launchedin her first visit to .the state sicne her appointment as c general secretary in charge of eastern U.P.

While the roadshow marked Priyanka’s formal entry into active politics, Rahul set his sight beyond the upcoming general elections to regain power in U.P.

‘Congress party has to form government in Uttar Pradesh.’

‘I respect Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, but Congress will fight with all its might in Uttar Pradesh,’ Rahul said.

The Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in U.P. in 2014.

“In every defence deal there is a clause against corruption.Narendra Modi scrapped the corruption clause to benefit Anil Ambani,” he said.

He also accused the Prime Minister of ignoring farmers and favouring industrialists.

The Congress has consistently attacked the Modi government for not addressing farm distress in the country and the issue was one of the main election planks for the grand old party in the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: Hindustan Times

06/02/2019

Robert Vadra reaches Enforcement Directorate office for questioning, wife Priyanka drops him off

This is the first time Robert Vadra is appearing before any probe central agency in connection with allegations of dubious financial dealings and comes days after Priyanka Gandhi was formally inducted into the Congress party.

INDIA Updated: Feb 06, 2019 16:31 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Robert vadra,Priyanka Gandhi vadra,Rahul Gandhi
Robert Vadra was dropped off at the ED office by his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. (HT PHOTO/Burhaan Kinu)

Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, reached the Enforcement Directorate office in Delhi on Thursday after the agency summoned him in a money laundering case. Robert Vadra was dropped off at the office by his wife and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

This is the first time Robert Vadra is appearing before any probe central agency in connection with allegations of dubious financial dealings and comes days after Priyanka Gandhi was formally inducted into the Congress party. She has been tasked with reviving the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Robert Vadra arrived at the ED’s office located in central Delhi’s Jamnagar House at 3.45 pm. He has been told to cooperate with the ED investigation by a Delhi court that he had approached for anticipatory bail.

The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square. Robert Vadra has denied the allegations on several occasions in the past, called termed them a political witch hunt and accused the BJP-led national coalition of attempting to distract attention from its failures.

Read more:‘Tomorrow it can be PM Modi’: Congress leader on ED summons to Robert Vadra

The Enforcement Directorate had told the court that it has received information about various new properties in London which belongs to Vadra, including two houses of five and four million each, six other flats and more properties.

The ED had carried out raids in this case in December last year and questioned Robert Vadra’s aide Manoj Arora, an employee of a firm linked to Vadra, Skylight Hospitality LLP.

Vadra has also been directed by the Rajasthan High Court to appear before the ED on February 12 in connection with another money laundering case being probed by the agency.

Read more: Priyanka Gandhi gets room next to brother Rahul Gandhi at Congress headquarters

First Published: Feb 06, 2019 16:00 IST

Source: Hindustan Times

02/02/2019

Three women who could be Modi’s biggest nightmare in India’s election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Three powerful women politicians, each from a very different section of Indian society, may pose a big threat to the chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning a second term in a general election due by May.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, part of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for much of the time since its independence from the British in 1947, joined the struggle in January, when the opposition Congress party made her its face in the nation’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

Two other senior female politicians – the firebrand chief minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, and Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister – are also plotting to unseat Modi’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition by forming big opposition groupings, though there is no firm agreement between them as yet.

“The opposition has more powerful women leaders than the NDA, and therefore they will be able to carry conviction with voters generally, and with women voters, in particular,” said Yashwant Sinha, 81, a former finance minister who quit Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which dominates the NDA, last year.

“They should be very worried, especially after the defeat in the three major Hindi heartland states,” he said, referring to BJP’s losses in recent state elections.

The entry of Priyanka – she is usually referred to by just her first name – into the political fray drew a gushing reaction from much of the Indian media.

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There were pictures of elated supporters dancing, a lot of talk of the 47-year-old’s resemblance to her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and comments about her gifts as a speaker able to connect with voters. That contrasts with her brother, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who in the past has been criticized for lacking the common touch.

TRIPLE CHALLENGE

The other two women seen threatening Modi’s grip on power have a lot more experience than Priyanka, and both could be seen as potential prime ministerial candidates in a coalition government.

Mayawati, a 63-year-old former teacher who goes by just the one name, last month formed an alliance between her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – which mainly represents Hinduism’s lowest caste, the Dalits – and its once bitter foes, the Samajwadi Party that tends to draw support from other lower castes and Muslims.

Then there is 64-year-old Banerjee, who has twice been railways minister in federal governments. Last month, Banerjee – who built her All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) party after leaving Congress in 1997 – organised an anti-BJP rally in Kolkata that attracted hundreds of thousands.

Party colleagues of the three women leaders said they were not available for comment.

To be sure, Modi remains, for now, the most popular leader in the country, opinion polls show.

Modi also cannot be accused of ignoring women’s issues during his first term. He has launched a government campaign – Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, or “Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter” – and called for the eradication of female foeticide. His campaigns to provide toilets and subsidised gas cylinders for poorer Indians are often promoted as ways to empower women.

He has six women in his 26-strong cabinet, though a lot of power is centralised with Modi and a couple of senior male lieutenants.

The BJP said it would seek votes on the basis of achievements under Modi and the opposition did not have a “positive alternative to the government, and its activities”.

PERSONAL TIES

Congress has said it wants to form a post-poll partnership with Mayawati’s BSP and SP alliance, though it will be fighting against it in 78 seats. The alliance will not contest two Gandhi strongholds won multiple times by Rahul and his mother Sonia.

Mayawati told a press conference announcing the alliance with the SP that Congress was not part of it because they did not think “there would be much benefit in having them with us before the election”.

The BSP, however, backs Congress-led governments in the northern states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

There is no formal alliance between Banerjee and Congress, though she does know Rahul and Priyanka.

Dinesh Trivedi, a former federal minister and a close aide to Banerjee, said she enjoys a good personal relationship with Sonia Gandhi, the matriarch of the dynasty and a former Congress president, and so working with her two children would not be a problem.

“In terms of experience, Mamata Banerjee is far ahead,” Trivedi said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi would look at Mamata Banerjee as somebody who could really inspire them.”

The strength of Priyanka, Mayawati and Banerjee as a potential opposition alliance is that they can appeal to different parts of the electorate.

Two Congress sources said the formal entry into politics of Priyanka could help rejuvenate the party in Uttar Pradesh, where it is a marginal player. Coming from what is India’s first family, they said she could appeal to upper caste voters in the state who typically vote for the pro-business BJP.

A Congress leader close to the Gandhis said she would attract women, young people, and floating voters.

Priyanka is far from a political neophyte, having supported her brother and mother during previous election campaigns. She has also experienced political and personal tragedy, as Rahul Gandhi stressed in a speech last week.

“You have to understand my relationship with my sister – we have been through a hell of a lot together,” he said.

“Everybody is like ‘look, you come from this illustrious family, and everything is easy’. Actually it’s not so easy. My father was assassinated, my grandmother was assassinated, huge political battles, wins in political battles, losses in political battles.”

“NATIONAL LEADER”

BSP spokesman Sudhindra Bhadoria said Mayawati’s gender did not matter.

“She has managed a party from scratch to this level. The important fact is that she has organised large numbers, both men and women, Dalits, other backward castes, the poor, minorities,” Bhadoria said. “I don’t fit them in the straightjacket of male-female. I think she’s a national leader.”

She is regarded as ambitious. A U.S. diplomatic cable in 2008, among many thousands leaked by Wikileaks two years later, described her as “first-rate egomaniac” who “is obsessed with becoming prime minister”.

But Mayawati has also been credited with empowering oppressed lower caste Hindus.

Banerjee, who defeated a 34-year-old communist government in West Bengal in an election in 2011, is known for her streetwise political skills and portrays herself as a secular leader in a country polarised under the BJP.

Source: Reuters

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