Promila Kanya

Whenever I see a female politician joining the league, I become enthralled. When more women join, it simply becomes a more level playing field for all the politicians involved. In Bangladesh we have seen how being a woman simply did not deter any of our leaders from bringing enormous changes to the country. With their competence, intelligence and grace, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, speaker of the national parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury and many others have proved time and again that women in politics is one of the greatest gifts a nation can receive.

Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, granddaughter of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has recently been appointed as Congress’s General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh-East. As waves of news related to it are crashing the Indian media, the Congress leaders seem content in the decision. Born into one of the most prominent political families in the world, leadership came naturally to her and till her teen years, she really wanted to be a politician. I was watching Priyanka Gandhi’s NDTV interview with renowned journalist Barkha Dutt in 2009 where she very clearly stated that she did not want to join politics and simply had no desire to be in the limelight. After a decade, it seems that she has changed her mind and for the better too. India Today termed Priyanka as ‘charismatic and fresh’, something that Congress may need to stand up against Narendra Modi and his team for the election ahead.

Looking into her popularity and not so much of her brother Rahul, I found in few articles, all of which had the similar tone, that one of the reasons why India loves Priyanka is because they see glimpses of her late grandmother Indira Gandhi in her. If that is the case then Priyanka needs to tread carefully so as to not hurt the emotions of those who may feel so; a lot now rides on her shoulders. Simply resembling Indira Gandhi is not why Priyanka is loved by her countrymen, she has been praised for being strong-willed, her speaking and people skills and also for her depth of political knowledge. Although she was not directly involved, she had campaigned for her brother and mother where she was spontaneously accepted by the general public.

Priyanka’s step into formal politics did not come off as a shock for BJP, they had been anticipating this for quite some time, especially after Rahul Gandhi’s letdown to meet expectations, and some of their MPs’ opinions about her ability to bring changes for Congress or rather, for India, has been anything but nice. Priyanka Gandhi has been called names, even chided by senior BJP MPs as a replacement for Rahul’s failure. However this may also be an indication that the opposition feels Priyanka is a worthy opponent to stand up against.

Haters may hate but it seems that Priyanka Gandhi is here to stay.

Promila Kanya works at Bangladesh Post