New Delhi: A few days before the Pulwama attack, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra appeared alongside her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a high voltage road show. It was yet another formal induction for her into the grit of Indian politics.
Earlier, she was appointed as the General Secretary of AICC in charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is reported that she was in marathon meetings with Congress workers to lift the prospects of the party in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
All was going well and according to the script, when Pulwama attack occurred on the fateful day of February 14. India was shocked and dismayed by the amount of devastation that was inflicted by a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist.
Except for a few tweets and condemnation of the attack, the new General Secretary kept a low profile since then. Just after the Pulwama attack, she decided to postpone a scheduled press meeting as a mark of solidarity with the families of CRPF soldiers killed.
That was the last we heard from her.
While the country was mourning the deaths of CRPF soldiers, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was conspicuous with her absence. She forgot to be the comforting figure and the mass leader who would rise to the occasion when the country was facing a huge ordeal.
The Gandhi scion kept a low profile even after the airstrikes and also when Indo-Pak tensions took a dangerous turn when one of our pilots, Abhinandan Varthaman, fell into enemy hands.
This is not what India demands of a ‘wannabe leader’. For a leader, staying aloof at a time of distress is not a good option. Yet it is surprising that she kept her silence.
Taking into consideration her earlier assertions especially during elections, it is quite easy to infer that her absence was part of the hasty script that was made after the Pulwama attack.
It was Congress political managers’ effort to shield their ‘trump card’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from making any mistakes at a sensitive time. She seemed to follow the maxim ‘Silence is golden’.
Congress also gauged correctly that the mood of the nation was in favourable to Narendra Modi, who effectively tackled the whole situation with élan. She couldn’t counter him on any front without facing a public backlash. So she just chose to bid her time and wait for another opportunity to come knocking.
As the dust settles down after the recent tensions, Priyanka Gandhi will return to take on Narendra Modi. She will even foreshadow her brother Rahul Gandhi.
However, Priyanka Gandhi, who is already bogged down by serious corruption allegations against her husband Robert Vadra, will find the going tough, especially against Narendra Modi who has given a corruption-less government for the last five years.
She must realise that the Indian voters have not yet forgotten the immense scams that occurred during the UPA rule led by her mother Sonia Gandhi.
How she will tackle the corruption allegations against her family is what every political analyst is pondering now.
Her first stunt to play the victim card backfired. Dropping her husband at the Enforcement Directorate for questioning on her way to Congress office did not go down well with the people of India. She needs to come up with smarter ways if she needs to take on the formidable enemy, Narendra Modi.
For now, Priyanka Gandhi has proved with her absence after Pulwama attack that she is willing to play politics above national interests.