But this was also the first time that the party has acknowleged Priyanka's role in Congress politics beyond Amethi and Raebareli. "Priyanka Gandhi will campaign only in Raebareli and Amethi. She has been campaigning in Raebareli and Amethi earlier also. "She will also coordinate the coordinate the countrywide tour programmes of the Congress President and the party Vice President, which she had been doing in the past as well," AICC general secretary and Communication Department Chairman Ajay Maken said. Priyanka's meeting with top Congress leaders earlier this week at the residence of her brother Rahul had created a flutter in political circles, triggering speculation whether she is in for a major role ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, Union minister Jairam Ramesh, AICC general secretaries Madhusudan Mistri, Janardan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken and party ideologue Mohan Gopal were present in the meeting. There was speculation on whether Priyanka will assume an active political role to perk up Congress performance in the elections, particularly in the context of the recent drubbing it received in the Assembly polls.
Congress had since then, however, downplayed the issue, saying she has been active in Congress politics and questioned the surprise in political circles over her interaction with senior leaders. There has also been talk in recent months on whether Priyanka, who has so far confined her politics to campaigning for her mother in Raebareli, would take a plunge into politics full time. At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Raj Babbar said, "The matter ends if the Chairman of the Communication Department has given a statement.
The Chairman has told you about the decison of the party. There is no need to say anything further on it." He was replying to a query on Maken's statement regarding Priyanka not campaigning beyond Raebareli and Amethi.