A newly appointed General Secretary of the oldest political party of India, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra delivered her first campaign speech in her new role on March 12 in Ahmadabad, Gujarat.
The media was eagerly waiting for the speech to be made in the den of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reports said the place, date and the venue were carefully chosen to send out a big message to the Prime Minister and his party, BJP.
The message of peace, love, compassion and patriotism broadcast from the Sardar Patel Memorial Ground after a visit to Sabaramati Ashram on the day Mahatma Gandhi kick-started the famous Dandi march in 1930.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra did use these words in her brief speech, while leaving more strident articulation of the concepts to her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who talked about the party’s resolve to defeat the BJP and RSS’s ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness. She took no name, either of individuals or organisations.
What was new in her message? Her brother has already professed he could go a step further on making peace with love by hugging the Prime Minister in the Parliament. Besides the lofty words of peace, love, compassion and patriotism (she did call the audience true patriotic), she repeated the sentences spoken ad nauseam by her party leaders, TV analysts and print media columnists. ‘Where are 2 crore jobs? Where is the promised Rs 15 lakh? What about women’s security… farmers’ distress? …’
It is not clear how much these words resonate with people other than those mentioned above. In truth, when Priyanka spoke on these issues, it evoked little response from the audience in Ahmadabad.
But what came out in her first campaign speech is her demeanour. She was calm and composed and spoke in a soft but sharp voice in fluent Hindi. She came across as someone who can fit the imagery of a big sister, but certainly not as a future leader who can rule this country.