New Delhi – Priyanka Gandhi, 47, scion of India’s most prominent political family, made her political debut by holding a well-attended roadshow on Monday, ahead of general elections due by May.
Rahul Gandhi, her elder brother and president of the main opposition Indian National Congress party, last month appointed her to the post of general secretary.
She has been put in charge of the party in Uttar Pradesh state, which sends a large number of lawmakers to parliament and often plays a crucial role in deciding who forms the government.
Priyanka and Rahul, accompanied by party leaders, rode in an open truck which wound its way through the streets of state capital Lucknow, waving at thousands of supporters who chanted slogans welcoming her into politics.
Ahead of her debut, Priyanka said she hoped to usher in "new politics" in Uttar Pradesh, which Premier Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won in 2014 national elections and again in state polls in 2017.
Congress workers believe the induction of Priyanka, who resembles the charismatic Indira Gandhi, will boost the party’s chances in the national elections.
The Nehru-Gandhi family has had three prime ministers, including Jawaharlal Nehru, who was India’s first prime minister and great grandfather of Rahul and Priyanka, followed by their grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi.
The ruling BJP has often criticized the Congress party for what they term "dynastic politics."
She has taken up the position 14 months after her brother became party president.
A mother of two, Priyanka is married to a businessman Robert Vadra, who is being investigated for alleged charges of corruption in land deals.