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Priyanka meets Azad, fuels speculation about her UP role


New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi today met Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad amid speculation about her assuming a bigger role in the party ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls in the state.

Party sources said Priyanka had an hour-long meeting with Azad at his residence here. They are learnt to have discussed her role in the party ahead of the Assembly polls in the state next year.

According to reports, Priyanka may assume an active and bigger role for Congress and may be its top campaigner in UP.

Congress has so far remained tight-lipped on her role but several party leaders have batted for her assuming a bigger role and canvassing for the party all over the state.

Priyanka has earlier campaigned in Rae Bareli and Amethi parliamentary constituencies, represented by her mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and brother and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, respectively.

Azad had held meetings with Sonia and Rahul in the past few days over the party’s poll strategy in UP.

He has favoured Priyanka becoming pro-active and campaigning throughout the state.

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who has been roped in by Congress to help and assist the party in Uttar Pradesh, has reportedly suggested Priyanka’s name for leading the party in the state.

Reports also have it that veteran leader Sheila Dikshit is likely to assume an active role in the key state. Party’s state president Nirmal Khatri is likely to be replaced, the sources said.

There has been divergence of opinion in Congress over Priyanka being made the top campaigner in Uttar Pradesh with a section insisting that she should canvass support for the party all over the country in the next Lok Sabha polls and should not focus on a state poll.

Congress is in political wilderness in UP for the past more than 26 years which saw emergence of ‘Mandal’ and ‘Mandir’ issues and the rise of BSP.

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