New Delhi (Sputnik): With elections to the Indian parliament less than a month away, the most talked about recent development has been the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, to the campaign scene in aid of her brother and Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi. With the opposition led by the Congress pitched against a formidable opponent in the form of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sputnik talked to Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, senior associate editor of Frontline Magazine, to understand the impact and purpose of the hyped entry of Priyanka Gandhi in Indian electioneering.
Sputnik: As a political observer, how do you think the entry of Nehru-Gandhi family scion Priyanka Gandhi will impact the Indian political discourse?
Sputnik: Is it a grace saver and last-ditch effort of the Congress to put its house in order, which saw its worst performance in the 2014 polls? How would her entry impact the Congress' fortune?
Venkitesh Ramakrishnan: As stated above, it is too early to assess the electoral impact. But the pervasive sense in the political firmament is that the entry's tangible gains have been minimised on account of a perceived delay. Evidently, the Congress is seeking to enhance the recent gains it has made in the assembly polls, but there is little doubt her entry would have had greater traction if it had happened during the UPA II regime, preferably in its latter years.
Sputnik: As a person who has observed politics so closely, how do you assess the strengths and limitations of Priyanka Gandhi as a political personality?
Sputnik: Do you think Priyanka's entry in politics is a statement against the current party president and her brother, Rahul Gandhi?
Venkitesh Ramakrishnan: I do not think so, though there are efforts to portray her political entry in these terms. I am of the view that her entry marks Congress' plans to put up a spirited battle in the assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh, scheduled for 2022, by projecting Priyanka Gandhi as the chief ministerial candidate. Evidently, this is inspired by the recent assembly election victories in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.