Bhubaneswar: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said his sister Priyanka Gandhi’s appointment as the General Secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh was not a sudden decision as he had been discussing it with her for years now.
“The decision was taken some years back and not just 10 days ago,” Gandhi said in response to a question on her sudden appointment while speaking at a town hall style meeting here titled ‘The Odisha Dialogue’.
“I have been talking to her about this for years but earlier she would say that her children were too young and she had to be with them.
“Now that her children are at a different stage in life, with one in university; Priyanka decided to join politics,” he added.
Playing his surprise trump card, the Congress President on January 23, appointed his sister to the party in the state where the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance had pushed the Congress into a corner ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Priyanka Gandhi’s main job in the state would be to “revive the Congress’ ideology in Uttar Pradesh — the idea of Congress”, he said.
Asked what he thought would be the 2019 elections outcome, Gandhi said the “BJP does not stand a chance” against an united opposition.
“The opposition will win the elections in 2019. We are now at a point where the opposition is so united that the BJP stands no chance in the elections,” he said.
In a direct attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Gandhi said that his target for the upcoming elections on a national level would be to give voice to the people. Whereas on a state level, it would be to “take Odisha out of one man’s power”.
“Narendra Modi has leverage over Patnaik and he, in turn, supports Modi throughout. Patnaik is autocratic and centralises power but he is not as hateful as Modi,” Gandhi added.