Much will depend on how the Congress deals with the developments in the days ahead.
On Wednesday, February 6, businessman Robert Vadra was questioned by the enforcement directorate (ED) for about six hours in connection with links to an arms dealer and money laundering. The questioning will continue today as well. Robert Vadra is the husband of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
While it is Robert Vadra who is being questioned, the media focus is on wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra — and that’s what makes the case an important one. What is essentially a case of financial malpractice is being discussed more because of the political impact it can have on the grand old party.
Robert Vadra’s alleged questionable business dealings and links have been reported in the media for more than a decade now and during this time, Congress rivals, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have not missed an opportunity to highlight it as a proof of the grand old party’s tolerance for corruption.
In the past such allegations have not stuck, probably because both Vadra and Priyanka were private citizens. The most recent attacks were when the BJP raked up Vadra’s name during the assembly polls in December. This time, however, it is different because Priyanka has entered active politics and the Congress expects her to revive the party in Uttar Pradesh.
The political crossfire between parties amplifies Vadra’s case and it comes down to how well each side manages the developments. That’s why Priyanka accompanying her husband to the ED office on Wednesday and stopping to give the waiting media a newsbyte is a politically sharp move. It not only adds conviction to the Congress’ claim that the charges against Vadra are fabricated but also shows Priyanka as a strong person who stands by loved ones in troubled times. The media has not failed to acknowledge such grit and conviction and these positive qualities will help reinforce the people’s faith in her.
It is not yet clear if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, but it’s safe to assume that she will. Now with the noose tightening around Vadra it will be interesting to see how it will affect her electoral chances. If by any chance she decides against contesting this time, Congress rivals will attribute Vadra’s ED case as the reason and declare her political entry as a non-starter. In short, whatever be the outcome in the ED case, there’s no turning back for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra the neta.For more Opinion pieces, click here.