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Priyanka Gandhi’s Gujarat speech was elegant; for Congress, it was ‘Michelle Obama moment’


New Delhi, March 14: Two days after the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for the seven-phase Lok Sabha election beginning April 11, the Congress launched its campaign in Gandhinagar - home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- where the party's newly appointed general secretary Priyanka Gandhi delivered her first speech after formally joining the party in January. The 47-year-old sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi is in charge of eastern UP where the constituency of Modi - Varanasi - is located.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses a public meeting ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Gandhinagar

The short speech that Priyanka delivered was not a regular attacking one centred around issues like Rafale or Nirav Modi or Masood Azhar - something that her brother loves to dwell on while targeting Modi and his party. Her speech was more had a philosophical/moral undertone, asking people to be more aware when exercising their rights to vote.

"There is no bigger nationalism than being aware. Your awareness is a weapon, your vote is a weapon. It is a weapon that will not hurt or harm any one. It is a weapon that will strengthen you," she said.

"This country is made on the foundations of love, harmony and brotherhood. Today whatever is happening in the country is very sad."

A day of debuts for Priyanka Gandhi

There was a striking similarity that Priyanka's style or speaking and the voice had with late prime minister Indira Gandhi, her grandmother, and it would be a big boost for the supporters of a party which is seen far from being a favourite to win the upcoming general polls.

Her former arrival as a political leader is certainly a fresh change that many wanted to happen in the Congress party in particular and in Indian politics in general.

By appealing to the voters' own intelligence and power to assess, Priyanka change the narrative of forcing an issue on them - be it anti-Rahul or anti-Modi. As a mature leader, she left it to the maturity of the people themselves by advising them to raise some basic questions against the rulers of the day.

There was no direct and inferior attack and the delivery of the speech was marked by elegance. For those who still aspire to see some healthy precedents in Indian politics, Priyanka's speech would certainly bring some hope.

The Congress perhaps brought her into direct action far too late. A whole lot of time was devoted to bring Rahul Gandhi up as a frontline leader but Priyanka's Gujarat speech showed that she perhaps has a better grip on the subject matter as a beginner.

Her own elegance, coupled with the shadow of her grandmother and the 'yet-to-grow' image of Rahul could see her taking some big strides in the politics in the days to come.

Priyanka's speech in Gandhinagar was somewhat of the Congress's 'Michelle Obama moment' and the party should take confidence from the fact.

By making a simplistic appeal to the conscience and awareness of the people without actually indulging in any individual attack, Priyanka did something that the former US first lady had done during the 2016 presidential election and earned a major praise despite the Democrats' defeat.

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