(India Abroad News Service)
Amethi, 20 Sep Priyanka Vadra, the brightest star in the Congress campaign for the ongoing parliamentary elections, has hit out at those raising the “foreigner” bogey against her mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, saying it was a reflection of their pettiness.
“ The way they are after one woman only reflects their pettiness,” Priyanka said in an informal chat with a few reporters soon after paying her respects at a temple in the Jamo area in her mother’s constituency Amethi.
“Otherwise in a country of 900 million people, where 70 to 80 per cent of the population lives in abject poverty, can’t they think of any other issue?” she asked. “After all, they are in the government and can’t they see the pathetic state of the common man who neither gets drinking water nor electricity? The public distribution system is poor and the wheat distributed through it is loaded with stones,” she added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading the campaign against Sonia saying she had no right to aspire to lead India as she is Italy-born.
When it was pointed out that the BJP-led government frequently said it had not been given enough time to deliver on its promises made in the 1998 elections, the 27-year-old daughter of the Nehru-Gandhi clan said, “They seem to be living out of only excuses. Even when onion prices shot up (late last year), they started blaming it on the Congress.” Priyanka went further, “A government should behave in a responsible manner and not expect to thrive only on excuses.”
Displaying the conviction of her grandmother Indira Gandhi and the charm of her father Rajiv Gandhi, her smiling face turned somewhat stern as she answered another pointed query about the projection of “dynastic” rule by the Congress party. “India is a democracy and leaders are elected. Where is the question of a dynasty?” she asked.
On why she felt people still looked up to her family, pat came the reply, “Well, surely they must be feeling that our family has done something for them.”
To whether she had come to Amethi in her capacity as a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Priyanka Vadra said: “No, I am here simply to campaign for my mother, which everyone has a right to do. This is just like so many other persons have been doing the for their family memebers contesting elections.”
Priyanka’s husband Robert Vadra and sister-in-law Mitchel Vadra are actively assisting her in the campaign. While Mitchel was dutifully beside Priyanka, who had undertaken a solo campaign without a single prominent party leader, Robert is busy organising logistics for polling day, October 3.
Scotching speculation, Priyanka claimed she had no intention of oining politics, claiming she would rather serve the nation through other means. “I do not think that politics is the only way to serve the country; there are many ways to serve the people without getting into politics,” she said. But she declined to elaborate on her plans.
Asked if she did not wish to become like her grandmother, to whom she bears a striking resemblance, Priyanka promptly replied, “I just want to be myself.” But she admitted to having drawn inspiration from the writings of both her grandmother and great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru.
On whether she, like her mother, would not eventually succumb to the growing demand for a plunge into politics, Priyanka just smiled before climbing back into the waiting Tata Safari station wagon to make her way to the next destination, another remote village.