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Vadragate: Sonia panicked, Priyanka calmed Congress down

Last updated on: October 12, 2012 14:56 IST

Vadragate: Sonia panicked, Priyanka calmed Cong down

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B Raman analyses the new strategy adopted by the Congress to take on activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal.

After over 48 hours of panic over the allegations levelled by Arvind Kejriwal of India Against Corruption against Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, the party has worked out a strategy to tire out the activist and his aides.  

It is reported that the initial panic was triggered by Sonia Gandhi herself, which led to the unwise intervention of a number of senior ministers in support of Vadra and his tactless remarks on Facebook.

After this initial spectacle of panic, Vadra's wife Priyanka, who is concerned about the likely impact of the allegations on the credibility and political future of the family and the Congress, reportedly stepped in to calm down the situation.

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Image: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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Kejriwal fired all bullets without hurting Vadra

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A new set of crisis management advisers, not haunted by memories of the old Bofors controversy against Rajiv Gandhi, took advantage of certain evolving characteristics of L'Affaire Vadra.

First, there has been no smoking gun so far. Second, there has been no paper trail. Third, Vadra's alleged involvement was with a listed company and not with shady individual businessmen, either in India or in the Diaspora abroad. Fourth, Kejriwal, during his first two press conferences, seemed to have fired all his bullets without seriously hurting Vadra.

He does not appear to have any more unused bullets at his disposal. And, fifth, by announcing beforehand that he would be exposing another prominent personality on October 16, Kejriwal has set a trap for himself.

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Image: Arvind Kejriwal


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Pro-Hindutva NRIs inspiring campaign against Gandhi family?

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Those within the Congress feel that the allegations made by Kejriwal are nothing but recycled versions of those made by a national business daily earlier. Those allegations were not taken note of by the conventional media -- print or television -- but were noted and exploited on the Internet by a group of NRIs, who have been carrying on a campaign against Sonia Gandhi and her family and are in favour of Hindutva organisations.

This NRI group kept the allegations recycled through various means, which have now been picked up by Kejriwal and the IAC. It is claimed that in addition to these recycled allegations from the Internet, there have been no new allegations in the charges levelled by Kejriwal.

Congress insiders draw attention to the intriguing coincidence between the campaign against Sonia Gandhi unleashed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of her foreign travel expenditure and the campaign against Vadra over his wealth by the IAC. 

They suspect that the same group of pro-Hindutva NRIs is the inspiring force behind both the campaigns.

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Image: Sonia Gandhi with son Rahul, son-in-law Robert Vadra and daughter Priyanka
Photographs: Reuters

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Kejriwal recycling old allegations against Vadra

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The initial panic was also caused by the dramatic projection to viewers by TV channels of the charges made by Kejriwal against Vadra. This panic has also since subsided. They point out how the TV pendulum dramatically swung towards Anna Hazare during his fast in August last year and then equally dramatically swung away from him when there were signs of agitation fatigue in Mumbai where the Gandhian launched the second stage of his campaign.

They are hoping that the TV pendulum, which has swung towards Kejriwal, would similarly swing away from him if he keeps recycling old allegations.

The new strategy of the Congress is to give a long rope to Kejriwal and not to act in panic. Unless Kejriwal is able to come out with a smoking gun or new evidence, this strategy might work.

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Image: Robert Vadra


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