It would be wrong to assume that she is the Chief Ministerial candidate, Priyanka Gandhi said
- Priyanka Gandhi did not rule out contesting the UP election
- Earlier today, she hinted at being Congress' chief ministerial face
- She had talked about contesting elections once before in 2019
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra dropped a bombshell Friday morning when she hinted she could be the Congress's chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh election. Hours later, she said she meant it in a "tongue-in-cheek" way.
But she did not rule out contesting the election. If she does, she will be third debutant in this UP election after Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav.
"I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. Because I am asked this question... every second question is the same question," Priyanka Gandhi said in an interview to NDTV.
"Clearly, I am the General Secretary for UP. Whether officially we have to say 'this is the face', 'that is the face'...it is unlikely we are going to do that," she said.
This morning, as she launched the Congress youth manifesto with brother Rahul Gandhi, she was asked to respond to speculation over the Congress' Chief Ministerial candidate for the UP polls, given that parties like the BJP and the Samajwadi Party have clear leaders in Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav.
"You can see my face everywhere, can't you?" Priyanka Gandhi replied, setting off speculation that she could fight the election.
When pressed, she just repeated: "You can see my face, can't you?"
In the interview later, she firmly said: "You can't assume that I will be the Congress Chief Minister candidate. I am saying I am the general secretary of UP, the responsibility for UP is mine and I am dealing with it."
Asked why she was not fighting the polls, she interjected: "You don't know yet whether I am or not. It is an open question for now."
So she could contest the polls? "I may well...I may well," replied the 50-year-old Congress leader.
"I have left this discussion for a little bit later. So when we do, we will let you know."
So is it safe to assume that Priyanka Gandhi is "positioned" as a Congress Chief Minister candidate?
"I have clearly said that is not the case. I made a tongue-in-cheek remark. I don't think it is fair to assume that. I am considering fighting. The discussion is on. When we come to some consensus, we will let you know," she replied.
On whether that contest could be against Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur, she said: "No...Haven't considered it until you suggested it."
Many would say it would send out a clear message, if Priyanka Gandhi were to be the Congress candidate against Yogi Adityanath.
"There are many ways of sending out messages. I have been taking on Yogi for two-and-a-half years," she smiled.
Priyanka Gandhi had talked about contesting elections once before in 2019, months before the national election and just after she formally joined the Congress. She had told reporters she was ready to contest "if (my) party wants (me to)".
Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven rounds from February 10. The results will be declared on March 10.
The election in UP is seen to be mostly a bipolar one between the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party.