India Politics
Priyanka magic won votes, Rahul did not, say Congressmen
May 11, 2007 - 7:37:31 PM

New Delhi/Lucknow, May 11 - Call it the Priyanka magic if you will!

Two parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh where Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka toured during the election campaign have reaped the only benefits for the party, while her MP brother Rahul's hectic road shows across the vast state were not as fruitful.

Party leaders are quietly comparing Priyanka's success in Rae Bareli and Amethi - where the party won seven of the 10 assembly seats - to the poor show of the party elsewhere in the state, where Rahul had campaigned extensively.

The Congress tally has fallen from its existing 25 - to just 21 and even the vote share has come down.

In Sonia Gandhi's constituency Rae Bareli, where Priyanka Vadra focussed her energies, the Congress has won four of the five seats. Likewise, three of Amethi's five assembly segments have gone to the Congress. Priyanka had extensively toured Amethi, from where Rahul is an MP.

The grand old party, which once dominated the most populous state, won Dalmau, Sareni, Sataon and Bachrawan seats. Its nominees also won in Amethi, Jagdishpur and Salon.

The victory in the area is clearly a feather in the cap of Priyanka as the Congress had just two seats in its kitty there in the last state elections in 2002.

Rae Bareli and Amethi are considered to be bastions of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Despite Rahul's road shows - which had drawn good crowds throughout the state - the Congress turned out to be one of the poorest performers in the results counted Friday.

The third 'young' Gandhi, Varun Gandhi, also scored some hits for his Bharatiya Janata Party - in Bareilly and Pilibhit area where the party won seven seats of the 10 it contested. Varun, whose mother Maneka Gandhi is MP from Pilibhit, had campaigned extensively in the area.

Though most leaders refused to compare Priyanka and Rahul on record, they privately admitted that the differences were glaring.

Congress leaders had, in fact, begun comparing the Gandhi siblings even before the election results were out.

'While Rahul struggled to feel at home during the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, it was easy for Priyanka. She exudes confidence like that of her grandmother -,' said a Congress leader, believed to be close to the family.

'For Priyanka, electioneering and organising the party units in two constituencies were not a big effort at all. She is at ease with politics and mingling with people,' added another Congress leader, who has observed the Gandhi siblings closely.

The leader said there were many Congress members who believe that only Priyanka, and not Rahul, can bring back the glorious days for the party.

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