NEW DELHI: Posters of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra at Congress’s protest march on Friday created a flutter in party circles, reinforcing persistent speculation that the controversial businessman was chafing at not being allowed to enter the political arena. It was suspected that the posters were put up in the vicinity of Jantar Mantar, the starting point of Congress’s `Save Democracy’ march, by Jagdish Sharma, a familiar figure in Congress circles.This was the first time the 47-year-old businessman appeared on the party’s posters.
Party circles agreed that the posters interfered with the leadership’s known desire to keep Vadra out of the political sphere, and could be yet another evidence of his growing restlessness over not being allowed to take the field.
BJP seized upon the Vadra posters to buttress its charge of “dynasty politics” against Congress. “His display on Congress posters is seen as an attempt to complete the family . It’s an irony that Congress is calling this a democracy march. The posters reflect the Gandhi family’s dominance over the party. If anyone looks around the march, then one will find hoardings and posters of a single family,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
In an interview last week, Vadra refrained from ruling out a plunge into politics.”You never say never, so let’s see what the future has in store for me. When I feel that I can work for the people, when I get my calling, that is when I will think of joining politics,” he said. In 2010, Vadra had laid bare his political ambition by declaring in an exclusive interview that he could win election from anywhere he chose to.
Jagdish Sharma is a selfconfessed acolyte of Vadra who wears his devotion on his sleeves. He has generated headlines by putting up hoardings greeting Priyanka Gandhi on her birthday and by publicly beseeching her to enter politics. Sharma’s antics have earned him the unhappiness of the party brass, but he continues to be indulged by his idol, even making an effort to imbibe Vadra’s passion for golf. In Vadra’s latest interview, Sharma formed a prominent part of the backdrop in golf gear.
Interestingly, the Vadra posters coincide with the intensifying buzz about the growing desire of Congress to draft Priyanka in a big role for the UP elections. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who helped Nitish Kumar’s successful campaign in Bihar and has been loaned to Congress, is learnt to have made a strong case for Priyanka to be appointed the state Congress chief.