"I stand by my family”, with those words Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally took charge at the Congress headquarters on 24 Akbar Road. While it was a surprise visit, it is hard to miss the strong political message. Just before arriving at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office, Priyanka accompanied her husband Robert Vadra to the Enforcement Directorate office. Vadra had been summoned for questioning in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
"I stand by my family”, with those words Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally took charge at the Congress headquarters on 24 Akbar Road. While it was a surprise visit, it is hard to miss the strong political message.
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Just before arriving at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office, Priyanka accompanied her husband Robert Vadra to the Enforcement Directorate office. Vadra had been summoned for questioning in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
Priyanka was set to formally take over on February 7, when Rahul Gandhi was supposed to chair a meeting of Congress general secretaries, but she surprised everyone by taking charge a day earlier. Her decision could also have been prompted by a BJP press conference earlier in the day, which had targeted Vadra over corruption.
By accompanying her husband and telling reporters on her first day in office that she stands by her family, Priyanka wanted to make it clear that she was ready to fight.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who was one of the few who could meet Priyanka told CNBC TV18, “Ever since she has been appointed, the government agencies have got active. It is a witch hunt and Priyanka is going to standby her family and the more they attack her, the stronger she will emerge.”
Priyanka's surprise visit to AICC headquarters sent Congress leaders, the media and security in a complete tizzy. There was complete chaos the moment she stepped out of the small door, which connects Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence with the Congress headquarters.
Rahul and Sonia have always used this door for entering the Congress office for party meetings. Priyanka entered the party office, while Abhishek Manu Singhvi was addressing a press conference and photographers rushed out midway on learning that Priyanka had arrived.
Dressed in a blue kurta, trousers and a white dupatta wrapped around her neck, a smiling Priyanka arrived, flanked by stressed SPG personnel, who tried to keep the crowds and the media away from the 47-year-old. A Delhi Police constable posted at the gate said he had no clue about her visit and she took them all by surprise.
The Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East straight went to her room, which is right next to that of her brother and Congress president Rahul. Priyanka who has handled Amethi and Rae Bareilly since 2004 and has been a backroom strategist for all election, slipped into her formal role with complete ease.
The leader exuded confidence as she briefly met workers from Uttar Pradesh and a few lucky spokespersons, who happened to be at the Congress office at that time.
The corridors of the party office leading to Priyanka’s office were packed with cameras and party workers. Her security had a tough time escorting her to vehicle as she left the office after a thirty minute meeting.
Priyanka is likely to attend a meeting of Congress general secretaries on Thursday evening and will soon kick off her Uttar Pradesh tour. It remains to be seen whether she will enter the electoral fray and contest the Lok Sabha elections from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
First Published: Feb 6, 2019 8:21 PM IST