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Sinking Cong clutches on to last straw in Priyanka

The latest ploy saw the Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka joining her brother and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during a meeting which was being held at his residence on Tuesday, with senior party leaders.

Party veterans Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi and Jairam Ramesh, along with half a dozen other general secretaries, held a meeting with Rahul, at his 12 Tughlak Lane residence, where his sister dropped in for around five minutes.

According to party sources, the meeting focused on ‘startegising for the upcoming elections in 2014,’ hinting at major rejig to be undertaken by the beleaguered party and substantial organisational reshuffles in the pipeline, possibly right after the 17 January AICC session, in order to shore up its chances in the 2014 general elections.

Asked whether fronting Priyanka is a conscious decision, Janardhan Dwivedi said, ‘Priyanka Gandhi is a member of an important political family. Even though she does not take active part in politics, she is an active member and looks after election work at Rae Bareli and Amethi. She has political views, she meets workers and if she meets party leaders, what’s new?’

Sources said Priyanka who till now has confined herself to managing her mother and brother’s constituencies Rae Bareli and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, will this time help the party in the election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections this year. Although party sources have denied her contesting the polls, her presence at the party meeting has fueled speculations whether the more glamourous daughter of the Gandhi family will be fielded to raise Congress’ fortunes in the elections.

Meanwhile, the main opposition BJP has criticized Congress’ move to bring in Priyanka saying her ‘turning active’ is not likely to improve the party’s poll prospects.

‘This is an internal matter of the Congress. As far as BJP is concerned our leadership is very clear and our aim is to get a majority in 2014 polls ... Going by the performance of the party, I don’t think there is going to be any difference in the Congress poll prospects,’ BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said.
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