Guwahati: In a new twist to the hectic lobbying going on in the Congress ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, Assam Congress president Ripun Bora said here Monday that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra might be a candidate for one seat in Assam.
While disclosing that the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has proposed her name, Bora clarified, “Whether or not Priyanka Gandhi will be a candidate will depend on the high command and her own desire to contest the election.”
Speculation has been rife in New Delhi this week that the Congress may get its gen sec elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Priyanka Gandhi entered active politics ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election and now looks after the party in Uttar Pradesh. She has not ever been an elected rep.
If Congress insiders are to be believed, the party is also considering sending Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Surjewala and RPN Singh to the Upper House. Other names like that of former Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev have featured in the speculation as well.
Bora said the Congress, in alliance with the AIUDF, is confident of winning one of the three Rajya Sabha seats up for an election in Assam.
It is significant that the Congress and AIUDF are on the verge of stitching up their first alliance in the state after the former party had spurned all such offers for 14 years.
Signalling the change, former chief minister Tarun Gogoi said recently, “We are all set to put up a joint candidate with the AIUIDF for the Rajya Sabha. A final decision will be taken by the AICC. We are also going to fight the Assembly election together not just with the AIUDF but also with the Left, even the KMSS (peasants group led by Akhil Gogoi), regional parties and even the AASU, if they come forward, to oust the BJP from the state.”
The Congress and AIUDF have had a bitter relationship in Assam, even though they have been partners in the UPA at the Centre. From time to time, there have been suggestions that this only a secret understanding.
NEDA chairman and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was quick to comment that an alliance between Congress and AIUDF would be against the interests of the ‘indigenous’ members of the former party.
“No person with self-respect would like to be a Rajya Sabha MP with the AIUDF’s support. Anyone from the indigenous communities of Assam will dare to become an MP with the AIUDF’s support. Some members of the Congress who have the same characteristics as the AIUDF will like the alliance but those Congress members who are indigenous to the state will have to face the brunt of this for generations to come,” Sarma told reporters soon after Gogoi, once a fierce critic of the AIUDF, hinted at an alliance.