File photo of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is seen at an election campaign in Amethi. (Photographer: Atul Yadav/PTI)

Gandhi Family Scion Enters India’s Political Fray 

(Bloomberg) -- Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, has formally joined the nation’s political scene ahead of the general election to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.

Vadra, 47, is the younger sister of Rahul Gandhi, who’s president of India’s opposition Congress party. She’s been appointed a general secretary of the party and will manage elections in the eastern part of the key state of Uttar Pradesh, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Her debut in politics is viewed by some as a “trump card” that could help the Congress party as it tries to oust Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party from power. She’s had limited involvement in earlier elections, managing the constituencies of her brother Rahul and mother Sonia Gandhi.

Winning in Uttar Pradesh, a state of 200 million people that sends the most lawmakers to parliament, is central to forming the next federal government.

“We’re fired up & ready to go!,” the Congress party said in a tweet.

The Congress, which was struggling to regain momentum after its worst ever defeat in the 2014 elections, received a boost in December when it won three state assembly elections, leaving Modi looking more vulnerable ahead of the federal poll due by May.

Her appointment “will revive the party’s fortunes in Uttar Pradesh -- her presence alone will electrify party workers,” said Satish Misra, an analyst at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, who added she could be the party’s "trump card."

Some have a different view. “Priyanka’s entry is an announcement that Rahul is inadequate if not a failure,” tweeted Swaminathan Gurumurthy, a Hindu nationalist and journalist appointed by Modi’s government as an independent board member of the central bank in August.

Vadra’s family has produced three of India’s prime ministers -- great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi. Her mother Sonia Gandhi was Congress president for 19 years until 2017.

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