Priyanka Gandhi Robert Vadra

By Sudhanshu Chopra

In what could be a setback to the already dwindling Congress campaign, the Bikaner District Administration revealed on Tuesday that companies in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law Robert Vadra has stakes, profited hugely from purchasing land at reduced prices and selling these at premium rates. The timing of these charges is rather critical. They could prove to be more detrimental for the party than otherwise, considering the fact that Vadra’s wife, Priyanka Gandhi, is the newest face to endorse Congress.

With Sonia and Rahul mostly away, campaigning, Priyanka is making her presence felt in matters related to the campaign, publicity and media interaction. Apart from attending meetings to decide campaign material, she is managing everyday problems and directing the party general secretaries, assigned charge of various states. Andhra Pradesh’s Congress Committee leaders, like N Raghuveera Reddy and K Chiranjeevi are also keen on accompanying Priyanka for campaigning in Seemandhra, where Congress faces near rout.

Though some party functionaries have played down her role, saying she is only assisting her ‘terribly busy’ mother and brother, the developments could not be neglected. In fact, her eager steps towards politics have only helped to counter the increasing sense of resignation among the party leaders, by kindling the hope that all is not over yet.

In such circumstances, it becomes very important to attend to the Robert Vadra issue on priority since next to a leader’s own rectitude, his or her association with ‘clean people’ is what attracts the electorate the most. The leader must have something substantial to support the claims and promises.

How come, Narendra Modi has been able to come out as the rainmaker in the current run-up to the elections, despite being a controversial figure in the 2002 riots? The reason is clear. He has got a clean chit form the Gujarat High Court. It is a different issue that the decision has been a bone of contention for long. However the absence of conviction has given the Gujarat strongman an unbreachable shield to offer to the detractors every time they rake up the issue, signifying, in a way, that it never happened if it is not on paper.

Following the cue, Congress needs to first resolve the Vadra factor before his wife formally takes up the political reins. Priyanka has centuries of political experience sitting at home, which she could learn from. Her name is currently uninfected from the grime of scams. The 2014 Elections, irrespective of their result, could be the perfect launching pad for a bright political career. She could prove to be a significant step, a strong evidence towards realization of the Women Empowerment song that the Congress has now been singing for long.

Party vice president and older brother, Rahul, who is constantly criticized by the nation, would not mind a little support either. In fact, the support could prove to be far more than little, since a not very prevalent but potential sentiment is ripe among the people, of Priyanka being hailed as the next generation leader.