Thursday, April 23, 2009

PRIYANKA'S POLITICAL PLUNGE: NEVER SAY NEVER

John Abraham thinks she is "the sexiest woman in India by eons and light years" and believes that she is "going to be the real power centre in future". For the last 20 years, she has been asked about her joining politics but she has always said that she will not. Ever since she hit the campaign trail in Amethi and Rae Bareilly a few days back to seek votes for her mother and brother, she has impressed almost everybody with the manner in which she communicates and the connect that she seems to establish with ordinary people easily. Her "budiya" and "gudiya" spat with BJP's charismatic speaker Narendra Modi has also caught the imagination of many who see that spark of charisma in her too.

As a result, the calls for her to join politics are only getting louder with every passing day. On her own part, after consistently maintaining that she will never join politics, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra finally said a few days back said that although she was still not interested in joining politics, as she has grown older she has learnt one must never say never. As if on cue, her husband, Robert Vadra, is now saying that she will enter the arena at the right time.

It is thus only a question of time before Priyanka takes the political plunge. Making the task easy for her is the indisputable fact that her brother, Rahul Gandhi, has failed to make the kind of impact that he was expected to, to turn the sinking fortunes of the Congress around. He might be sincere and hard working, as Priyanka says, but he clearly lacks that charisma, that magic that can sway and charge people. When he speaks to the public, it is almost as if he is mechanically reading out a script that has been given to him.

When Priyanka speaks, she gives you a feeling as if she is speaking to you, person to person. Her fresh, fetching looks, her ready and genuine smile, and her easy, natural charm make it appear as if she is perfectly at home in a saree or salwar kameez in the house of a poor dalit, or in trousers and tucked-in shirts in Lutyen's Delhi. Indeed, as fashion designer Rina Dhaka says, she will fit on even a fashion runway anywhere in the world "from here to Sao Paulo".

This power combination, which has energised John Abraham enough to make him risk the wrath of his girl friend Bipasha Basu, adds up to a political dynamite that can explode through many of the limitations that the Congress faces today. And John is not the only one who thinks so. There are many others out there searching for her pictures on the net, often of the "Carla Bruni" variety that someone bought last year for $ 91,000. Whichever way you look at it, it cannot be denied that Priyanka will do to Indian politics what Sania Mirza has done to Indian tennis. Add to that the multiplier effect of her pedigree and you have the dream leader that every political party wants. Move over Varun Gandhi.

It is perhaps too late for Priyanka to take on the task of rejuvenating the Congress party and attracting voters to make any difference to the outcome of these elections. People have woken up too late to the realisation that there is a crying need for a charismatic leader in the Congress. I wrote about it almost a year back, when the Congress was cozying up to the Samajwadi Party(SP) in UP. Then itself I had said that the real SP that Rahul Gandhi needed was Sister Priyanka, and not the party of Mulayam Yadav.

Had the Congress realised then itself that it had the winner it was looking for and got Priyanka to get into active politics, perhaps the outcome of these elections would have been quite different. The way things are unfolding, it is now only a question of time before she gives in to popular demand and takes the political plunge. Her recent statement that she must never say never, and her husband's public support should leave no one in any doubt that the announcement might be made soon after the elections, particularly if the Congress performs below expectations. Sooner the better.
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Readers may also read:
1. Better than Bruni
2. The real SP that Rahul needs
3. Rahul, Varun and the politics of hate