KOTTAYAM l THURSDAY l JANUARY 24, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l CITY EDITION THE JOURNEY SO FAR SCHOOLING Born on January 12, 1972, Priyanka did her schooling in Delhi’s Modern School and Convent of Jesus and Mary. Graduated in Psychology from Jesus and Mary College A BUDDHIST Is a practitioner of Vipassana meditation, which is a Buddhist technique pioneered by S N Goenka. Said to have converted to Buddhism. Had chosen Buddhist Studies for her masters FIRST LOOK WEDDING: Married Robert Vadra on February 18, 1997. They have two children son Raihan and daughter Miraya Started dabbling in politics in 1999 when mother Sonia Gandhi fought Lok Sabha elections from Amethi. Has nursed family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli ever since MEETING NALINI: In 2008, met Nalini Sriharan, serving time in Vellore jail for Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination; said she does not believe in anger, hatred, violence Cong shows Priyanka’s hand SWOT ANALYSIS Surprise appointment as general secretary for eastern UP, the forts of Modi and Yogi, indicates party readying for the big fight Here’s a quick look at what Priyanka brings to the Congress leadership table S A N T W A N A B H AT TA C H A R YA @ New Delhi STRENGTHS Popular among workers and voters alike. Has striking resemblance to grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi. A backroom strategist so far, she connects with voters quickly. Better communicator than brother Rahul Gandhi WEAKNESSES Has never held any party position or been in active politics. Being a dynast could be a limiting factor OPPORTUNITIES Has a chance to prove her mettle as strategist and become a frontline politician. Party in comatose state in UP, any revival will be attributed to her. Regional allies see Cong as a pushover; her presence could help restore some respectability to the leadership THREATS Husband Robert Vadra, the alleged land scams he is involved in and his links with shady characters. It perhaps delayed her political entry have spent years wishing for her arrival on the stage during the long dry spell the Congress Priyanka Gandhi. The news tickers finally has had, thinking of mother Sonia Gandhi as flashed the name with a piece of news that has a mere regent, and Rahul as somewhat a dud. been long heralded, awaited, beseeched for, Those days are gone. Sonia proved herself to speculated upon, debated, decried, and denied be quite capable in steering the UPA for a decmultiple times. And the curtains have risen on ade. And now, the battle-hardened Rahul too a political event — and perhaps a political ca- has come into his own. reer — that has potential to be transformative The second is the peculiar flux pre-electoral and, equally just a piece of theatre. , UP politics is in. With the Mayawati-Akhilesh With just three months left mahagathbandhan keeping for a momentous general electhe Congress out, will a strongtion, it was with the flourish er Congress actually turn it DUAL POWER of finally deploying his brahinto a three-cornered contest, CENTRE, AGAIN? mastra that Congress presithereby benefiting the BJP? There could be speculation dent Rahul Gandhi on WednesThat may depend on which on Priyanka’s entry possibly day chose his sister Priyanka precise seats the SP and BSP leading to a situation of a as the party’s general secrefight, though it’s not without dual power centre in Cong tary for eastern Uttar Pradesh, significance that eastern UP is marking her entry into formal a BSP stronghold. At another politics. He also inducted Jylevel, this may also be a gambit otiraditya Scindia as general secretary, west- to force the SP-BSP axis into a tacit underern UP putting some big firepower into a state standing with the Congress, threatening an , where the party had long attrited. erosion of votes if that is not forthcoming. Whether Priyanka’s arrival will galvanise And why did Priyanka agree? Perhaps bethe voters to the same extent as party cadre, cause this is the most important political batthe timing, the circumstances and the event tle for her brother, and she wants him to be in itself are very interesting and hold signifi- the frontline for the PM’s chair, not just be an cance in many ways. adjunct to an unstable opposition coalition. To begin with, Priyanka has the curious staThe Congress is already threatening to wean tus of being both Rahul’s closest ally and also, away upper-caste votes from the BJP and Pri, in popular perception, his antithesis. Charis- yanka’s arrival can do that project no harm. matic, relatively more eloquent and less inhib- The constituencies of both PM Narendra Modi ited than her brother, she has often been seen and UP CM Yogi Adityanath fall in the east. as the real heir to the Indira legacy And she And, she perhaps has no real access to the com. was the original choice of party cadres, who plex caste matrix of UP . Even the dead made to suffer an ordeal here A N I L S @ T’Puram TEN months have elapsed since Balaramapuram St Sebastian’s Church member Maniyan passed away at 72, but his family members still feel sad they could not give him the desired farewell. Like any faithful, they wanted a proper burial, with a mass Goyal interim FM ahead of Union Budget EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi WITH just nine days to go for the interim Budget, and Arun Jaitley’s health condition remaining critical, Railways Minister Piy u s h G o ya l w a s o n Wednesday given additional charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries. “The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, hereby directed that during the period of the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs will be temporarily held by Piyush Goyal in addition to his existing portfolios”, an official statement said. Further, Jaitley has been designated as a minister without a portfolio during the period of his indisposition. EXPRESS READ Fire in ships: 6 Indians killed, 6 more missing New Delhi: At least six of the 16 Indians aboard the two tankers that caught fire off the coast of Russia late on Tuesday have been declared dead. Another six are missing, while four have been rescued. One of the deceased was identified as Sarvanan Nagarajan. The two LPG carriers, Maestro and Candy, caught fire while transferring fuel. offered in their parish church, but they could not do it. “We waited, but had to bury him the next day in the church cemetery without the usual religious rites. It still pains us,” laments Basanio Luis, Maniyan’s son-in-law. Maniyan is one among the 18 people who died in the past 10 months in the parish. The ordeal had been the same. A prolonged tussle between the Latin Catholic Diocese of Neyyattinkara and parish over the ownership of around 18 acres of land and property has been creating hardships for nearly 9,000 people belonging to 800-odd families here. ● More on P6 KSEB’S SOURA Solar project to charge state’s power sector A N U K U R U V I L L A @ Kochi Democratic culture and values run in BJP’s blood, unlike many cases where family is the party Narendra Modi, PM It is up to Priyanka if she wants to (contest Lok Sabha polls). My main point is, we won’t play on the back foot Rahul Gandhi, Congress president THE way things evolve, it looks like bringing about a massive change in the state’s power sector. The Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) project which aims to generate electricity through rooftop solar panel units is getting a good response as more than one lakh consumers have already registered on the Board’s website. The initiative could bring about a big change as Kerala has been lagging other states in terms of harnessing solar power. KSEB CMD N S Pillai said the project is part of a bigger plan. “The Board aims to generate 1,000 MW solar power in the next two years as part of increasing the power generation in the state,” said Pillai. KSEB has invited application from persons interested in setting up solar panel units on their rooftops. The last date of submission, which can also be done online, is January 31. “Till date we’ve received around one lakh applications and the number is expected to go up. Not only owners of houses, but institutions, organisations and business establishments have applied,” said Pillai. Teams have been formed to carry out site inspections and the number of units that can be set up will be determined based on their reports. “Not all surfaces and sites are viable options. The size and position of the roofs are big factors in deciding the amount of power that can be generated. So it’ll be difficult at present to give a clear picture on the targeted number of customers,” he said. ● More on P6 1.26L applications have been received by KSEB so far 3-4 months likely to be taken to get the solar unit connection after a consumer files application The Board aims to generate 1,000 MW solar power in the next two years as part of increasing the power generation in the state. N S Pillai, CMD, KSEB
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