Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, born on January 12, 1972, is a prominent Indian politician and the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, overseeing the affairs of Uttar Pradesh. She hails from the illustrious Nehru-Gandhi family, with her father being former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, her mother being Sonia Gandhi, who later served as the President of the Indian National Congress, and her brother Rahul Gandhi. Priyanka Gandhi's political journey is closely intertwined with her family's legacy and her deep-rooted commitment to public service.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was born at the Holy Family Hospital in Delhi, into a family with a rich political heritage. Her lineage connects her to the great leaders of India, as she is the granddaughter of Indira Gandhi, India's first female Prime Minister, and Feroze Gandhi, a freedom fighter and politician. She is also the great-granddaughter of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kamala Nehru.
Her education began at Welham Girls' School in Dehradun, which she attended until 1984. After the tragic assassination of her grandmother, Indira Gandhi, due to constant security threats, Priyanka, along with her brother Rahul, received homeschooling. Later, she pursued her education at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Delhi. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, and later completed a Master's degree in Buddhist Studies in 2010. After being asked to vacate government accommodation in Lodhi Estate, Priyanka Vadra shifted to Gurugram.
In 1997, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra married Robert Vadra, a businessman based in Delhi. The couple is blessed with two children named Miraya Vadra, and Raihan Vadra. Their wedding took place at the Gandhi family residence, 10 Janpath, in a Hindu ceremony on February 18, 1997. In addition to her political engagements, Priyanka Vadra is also an amateur radio operator with the call sign VU2PGY.
While Priyanka Gandhi Vadra initially resisted a direct entry into politics, she played an active role in the political campaigns of her mother and brother. She actively engaged with the people in her mother's and brother's constituencies, Rae Bareilly and Amethi, which allowed her to establish a strong connection with the masses.
In the 2004 Indian general election, she managed her mother's campaign and also supervised her brother Rahul Gandhi's campaign. During the 2007 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, while Rahul Gandhi managed the statewide campaign, she focused on ten seats in the Amethi-Rae Bareilly region, where she worked to resolve internal party disputes over seat allocations.
On January 23, 2019, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra officially entered the political arena when she was appointed as the AICC General Secretary, responsible for the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. Later, on September 11, 2020, she took on the role of General Secretary overseeing the entire state of Uttar Pradesh. During this period, she actively engaged in various political issues as an opposition leader and led numerous protests against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at both the state and central levels.
In October 2021, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained by the Uttar Pradesh police twice. The first detention occurred after her visit to Lakhimpur Kheri in western UP, following clashes between protesting farmers and the convoy of Union Minister Ajay Misra's son, in which eight people were killed. The second detention took place in Agra, where she was detained on her way to meet the family members of a man who allegedly died in police custody.
In preparation for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched the Congress party's campaign in Barabanki in October 2021. She played a significant role in formulating the party's manifesto, with a focus on youth and women empowerment, as well as the development of the state. She also promised 40% of tickets to women in the upcoming elections.
Focusing on women's empowerment and participation in politics, she initiated the "Ladki hoon, Lad Sakti hoon" campaign, which resonated with women across the state. On International Women's Day, she led a rally in Lucknow that brought together women from all over the state, highlighting key promises and aspirations.
Despite her dedicated efforts to revive the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh and introduce reforms to the state's political landscape, the party faced defeat in the assembly elections, winning only 2 out of the 403 assembly seats.
After the electoral setback in Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra continued to display her determination. During her visit to the state following the elections, she emphasised the need to revamp the party and encouraged party workers not to lose hope, indicating her commitment to pursuing her vision for the state.
On August 5, 2022, she participated in the Congress's 'Mehangai Par Halla Bol' protest against price rises and inflation, which led to her detention by the Delhi police. She is also reported to have played an active role in the Congress presidential election.
In December 2022, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra played a pivotal role in the Congress Party's victory over the rival Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2022 Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly election. She spearheaded the campaign alongside Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel, Congress leader Sachin Pilot, and leaders and workers from the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee.
The campaign included a series of rallies and promises focused on issues like unemployment, inflation, and the welfare of the youth, farmers, and women. Following the campaign, the Congress Party successfully formed the government in Himachal Pradesh, with Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu taking on the role of Chief Minister.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's political journey has been marked by her unwavering commitment to the principles she holds dear and her dedication to serving the people of India, as she continues to navigate the complex landscape of Indian politics.