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|September 18, 1999||
Priyanka takes Amethi by storm
Sharat Pradhan in Amethi
While nobody is still sure what makes Priyanka Vadra-Gandhi click -- the Gandhi tag, her resemblance to her father or her affable manners -- there is a feeling she evokes the same emotions in people that once her grandmother and later her father did.
Accompanied by her husband Robert Vadra and his sister Michelle, Priyanka drove from village to village in the Jagdishpur assembly segment on Friday.
Much of the purpose of her visit was conveyed without her actually having to speak. At places where small roadsides meetings were organised by local leaders, she reminded people of her father's political and emotional bond with the constituency. "I am sure there is no need to tell you why I have come here. My mother ( she referred to her as Maaji) is busy campaigning all over the country, she has sent me to talk to you on her behalf. She will come here to be with you only for one day; but I am going to stay here till the last day of polling."
She lives at the Sanjay Gandhi hospital guest house. The hospital is run by her family's private trust.
Starting from the guest house at 0930 hours after having spent the previous afternoon meeting party workers in Amethi town, she gave Special Protection Group personnel many anxious moments as she broke the security cordon more than once to get closer to the delirious crowds.
When a scribe asked her if she liked her political assignment, she quipped: "What political assignment? I have just come here to take a chakkar." To the oft-repeated question about her political ambitions, she said: "I have no intentions as of now to enter politics." She went on to add casually, "You know I actually do not relish all this bhashanbaazi (speeches) but what can you do when they put the mike before you?"
On a couple of occasions, Priyanka walked into some houses unannounced and declared she had come there to introduce her husband. The act was reminiscent of her father, whom this correspondent remembers strolling into houses in Amethi's villages and asking if there was anything to eat. He would then happily proceed to share their channa and gur.
When her attention was drawn to remarks made by her mother's main opponent in Amethi, Bharatiya Janata Party nominee Sanjay Singh, whom she had once known, Priyanka dismissed the issue, saying, "I am not bothered about what he says; I have my own life to live and he his own."
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