Millennium Post

New Indira

The crowds enthusiastically chanted 'Indira is back' as a visibly younger Gandhi strutted out of the airport – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra announced her arrival with a brimming road show in Lucknow, flanked by brother Rahul and Jyotiraditya. Since the announcement of her appointment as General Secretary, in-charge of Eastern UP, opposition quarters have beamed with delight, as if today's Indira has sealed the deal before the voter has even pressed the button of their choice. A new Indira for a new India may indeed be a delectable choice – but, relying only on Indira to show the light could augur another inauspicious end for the Gandhi family. While Indira was loved and hated in equal measure, as is with most flames of brilliance, the Gandhi family surely wouldn't want a grim return of beloved Indira's fateful end. This applies in equal truth to opposition ranks that have expressed undiluted thrill at her arrival. Priyanka Gandhi has political acumen, we believe; and, she will stab a dagger through the ruling party's chances at victory, we hope – but, none of this can be welcomed only with her celebrated resemblance to her iconic grandmother. Congress has a lot to accomplish in Uttar Pradesh, which was once their bastion and now seems quite out of hand. While road shows are important in displaying strength and marking national relevance, the true service to people, as is the duty of politicians, rarely unfolds under the glaring lens of Press cameras. UP, today, is plagued by unemployment, farmers are writhing under the pressure of crashing prices and inadequate safety nets, and communal tension is rising while crime continues to be the insurmountable Achilles heel. Priyanka has big shoes to fill. While her resemblance to Indira and unending charisma among people may help her secure many votes, the grassroots will surely demand palpable action ahead of mere attraction. This is an opportune time for Congress to make a visible difference in UP and win back the state that was one its home ground; especially since there is evident anti-incumbency as was witnessed in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-polls last year where the ruling party was handed shameful defeats. Many had touted Priyanka's entry into politics to be Rahul's masterstroke – and, it can be his most effective weapon, provided Congress finds a balance between Priyanka's charisma and her political worldview that, though in the shadows, has always stood in positive contrast to ordinary vote-mongering politicians. Priyanka may be India's new Indira – but this new Indira must carefully remember to never sow the seeds that had birthed the tragedy of 1984-October.

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