Cong mum over reports about Priyanka to be star campaigner in UP

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New Delhi, July 4: Congress today remained tight lipped over reports that Priyanka Gandhi would be its star campaigner in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and also on the issue of elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the party chief.

"Whenever it happens, you will know", party spokesman Jairam Ramesh told reporters quoting AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad when asked about reports that Priyanka would lead the campaign in UP and address as many as 150 meetings. He, however, dismissed suggestions that Priyanka taking centre stage in campaigning in Uttar Pradesh showed poorly on the leadership of Rahul.

UP polls: Cong mum over Priyanka Gandhi

Azad, who is in charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, has already favoured Priyanka becoming pro-active in campaigning all over the state.

On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Satya Dev Tripathi had said that Priyanka will step out of her family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli to campaign for the party all over the state. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who has been roped in by the Congress to help and assist the party in Uttar Pradesh, has reportedly suggested that if Rahul declines to lead the party in the state, Priyanka by all means should.

Azad has also expressed the possibility of the party naming a Chief Ministerial candidate in UP. 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.

Ramesh, who had earlier said that Rahul Gandhi would take over as party chief this year, today steered clear of questions on when the Congress Vice President would be elevated. "Rahul has come back from his visit abroad and will be busy in Monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 18 and also on the campaign for implementation of the forest rights Act", Ramesh merely said.

Only last month, Ramesh had said in an interview "Rahul Gandhi is de facto Congress chief but he should become de jure" and make the party battle ready without waiting for anti-incumbency to build up against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ramesh had insisted that the Congress vice president has "a lot of ideas on organisational restructuring and I hope he gets into position very soon.

He is de facto, but he should become de jure". Congress has witnessed reverses after reverses in elections since it lost power in the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014 and in which it posted its worst ever performance of 44 seats in the House of 543.

PTI

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