Priyanka Gandhi formally enters politics, given charge of eastern UP

After years of guessing game, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra finally entered active politics formally, with the Congress on Wednesday giving her the charge of boosting the party's fortunes in eastern Uttar Pradesh in run up to the Lok Sabha polls.

The 47-year-old daughter of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi will take charge of her responsibility from February first week.

She will be working in the capacity of General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East, the Congress announced on Wednesday.

Priyanka has off and on campaigned for her mother and brother in Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh but her formal entry into politics has been a matter of speculation for long.

Her formal entry into politics and being made in-charge of Uttar Pradesh assumes significance as the state, where 80 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats are at stake, plays a crucial role in the formation of central government

The decision has been taken days after Samajwadi Party and BSP decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls jointly and kept the Congress out of the alliance.

The Congress subsequently announced that it will contest all the 80 seats on its own.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who entrusted the charge of UP to Priyanka and another party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, said the party wants to create its "own space" in the state.

He said his sister and Scindia, who will be working in the state for two months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, are "powerful youth leaders" who will bring about a change in the situation in the state.

Priyanka and Scindia will present "the right kind of ideology for the poor, for the oppressed people", he said, expressing hope that "a new kind of thinking and a positive change" will come in UP.