The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Priyanka keeps date away from glare
Priyanka Gandhi

New Delhi, June 17: Reporters today got a dose of Priyanka Gandhi’s astuteness when her scheduled meeting with a group of Congress workers did not happen till late this evening.

The reporters’ suspense mounted as there was no sign of the touted meeting with party block leaders from Amethi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, and Rae Bareli, the late Indira Gandhi’s seat.

The Delhi meeting, the first of its kind for Priyanka, was scheduled to be held at the Gurdwara Rakhabganj Road home of Satish Sharma, the Rae Bareli MP.

“The meeting is cancelled,” some Congress leaders outside Sharma’s home said. Priyanka uses the MP’s house as an office for coordinating the affairs of her mother’s parliamentary constituency.

Much later, the reporters came to know that Priyanka had shifted the venue to her mother’s fortress-like 10 Janpath home to avoid meeting the large number of journalists, including many from the electronic media who were ready with their cameras.

It was not clear why Priyanka fought shy of the media by shifting to Sonia’s home, under cover of the eagle-eyed Special Protection Group, when she was playing a political role.

The best guess was, perhaps, she was not yet ready to reveal her role in Congress affairs, especially in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources said Priyanka’s meeting, in the presence of Sonia, lasted for nearly 90 minutes. The Congress chief was meeting the Amethi and Rae Bareli block chiefs for the second time since meeting them separately yesterday.

Today’s meeting, sources said, was “routine”. Priyanka asked the block Congress pramukhs to strengthen the party from the grassroots in both constituencies so it would be fighting fit for the coming elections.

She promised to regularly interact with the local leaders and assess their work, sources said. From all accounts of the meeting available, Priyanka gave no hint of a larger role for herself in party affairs.

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