The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Glossy to woo Priyanka

Mumbai, Jan. 9: “Dil diya hai Priyanka ko, jaan bhi denge. Aur ab to magazine bhi nikalenge Priyanka ke liye. Bas woh chunav lade Congress ke liye.”

Spotting their only ray of hope, beleaguered Congress leaders and sympathisers have got together to apply not-so-subtle pressure on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to bail out her mother, and by extension the entire party.

They have decided that the best way to woo Priyanka is to bring out a glossy 100-page monthly magazine, entirely in colour, dedicated to her.

At Rs 45 per issue, The World of Priyanka doesn’t come cheap.

Chief editor Avilash Awasthi is, however, not worried about the price. “That is the least of my concerns. You have no idea about her popularity. We have an initial subscription of 11,000 copies and it will only go up in a couple of months. An all-India survey done by us shows that everyone, from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh and Nagaland to Tamil Nadu, wants her to lead the nation.’’

The magazine will be launched at a glitzy ceremony at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on January 11 — Priyanka’s birthday. Several “big names” from the fields of sports, entertainment, media and politics are expected to attend the function, said Awasthi. He, however, refused to spell out the names.

The World of Priyanka is not the only paean to the Congress’ first daughter. Home minister Kripa Shankar Singh is bringing out the second edition of the magazine, Congress Darshan, focusing on Priyanka.

The theme is the same: the need for her to come to the aid of her mother and the party her family has built. Singh, the editor-in-chief of his magazine, writes that first Indira Gandhi had come out to help Jawahar Lal Nehru, then her son Sanjay rushed to her support. Rajiv pitched in after Sanjay’s death and Sonia filled the vacuum left by Rajiv. “Now Priyanka has to hark back to the glorious culture and be by the side of her mother.’’

Both the magazines quote eminent personalities from various fields, praising Priyanka and saying she is the need of the hour. Insisting that he is not a Congressman and “just a journalist with concern for the nation”, Awasthi said Priyanka has to come into the dwindling Congress frame if the country is to be saved from the clutches of “communal parties”.

“She is the only hope,’’ he said. “Her launch pad is ready in Amethi and Rae Bareli. The last time Sonia Gandhi toured these places, the people there gathered around her and pleaded that Priyanka should be made to fight elections from these Congress boroughs. They said that they will take care of the rest.’’

Asked if he is not patronising dynastic rule, Awasthi shot back: “Why are only the Gandhis targeted for dynastic rule' Mulayam Singh’s son is an MP, Kalyan Singh’s son is a minister and there are the Chautalas and the Pilots and the Scindias.’’

But will Priyanka bite the wordy bait' Dodging a direct answer, Singh said it would be good “for everyone” if she did. “There is no pressure but we hope she will read our magazine.”

A journalist for more than 15 years, Awasthi appeared mo-re confident in the power of the written word. “She will read how much people love and need her and she will realise,” he said. “And then we plan to bring out The World of Priyanka every month for Priyanka. She will melt.”

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