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Priyanka Gandhi dismisses reports of her taking up important Congress post

New Delhi: Seeking to scotch the intense speculation about her taking up a significant post in the Congress party, Priyanka Gandhi today dismissed it as "conjecture" and "baseless rumours". "The constant conjecture about my assuming various posts in the Congress party and the manner in which this issue is brought up at opportune moments is incorrect," Gandhi said in a brief statement here.

"I would be very grateful to all concerned if they desisted from encouraging such baseless rumours," she added. Her remarks seeks to to put a lid on speculation that she could formally join the party either in the capacity of a genral secretary in the AICC or the chief of UP Congress. Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza had yesterday said that the party wants all three members of Gandhi family to take leadership role, lending credence to the speculation. "

Everybody from all over India want that all members of Gandhi family should come in politics. We want that all three of them should take the leadership role in the party (Hum Chaahte Hain ki tinon party ki kamaan samhale)," Oza had said.

Sonia Gandhi is Congress President and Rahul is Vice President. On Wednesday, senior Congress leader and a Gandhi family loyalist Oscar Fernandes had said that Priyanka should have a more active role in the Congress" and that she should take up an "important responsibility". When asked if Priyanka's entry would not be treated as a vote of no-confidence in Rahul, he had said, "There is no comparison. Rahul is vice-president of the party, Sonia is president.

Another member of the Gandhi family would strengthen the party." A few months ago, a top leader had indicated that Priyanka's role would not be of replacing Rahul but supplementing him in running the party.

A banner put out in Allahabad a couple of days back read "Congress ka Moon, Priyanka is coming soon (The key face of Congress Priyanka is joining politics soon)". The speculation of Priyanka's larger role in the party was also interpreted in the media as "diminishing" role for Rahul, an interpretation, which was stoutly rejected by the party leaders in public.

Priyanka Gandhi, who for a long time confined her role in party affairs to Raebareli and Amethi Parliamentary seats represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul Gandhi, had attended some of the party meetings at the Congress Vice President's residence in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

The party had at that time downplayed it saying it was just to bring some coordination about the rallies and visits of Sonia and Rahul.

During the polls, Priyanka was spotted a number of times at the closed door strategy meetings of the party at different venues. When a similar speculation about her larger role in the party had gained momentum in April this year, party spokesperson Shashi Tharoor had said,"Congress has a president and a vice-president, who is not only functioning but also active...

There is no vacancy at the moment. We have a president and a vice-president and they are doing a job". The chorus to bring Priyanka in the party for a larger role has all the more grown after the worst-ever poll debacle of Congress in this Lok Sabha elections, where its tally came to 44 from 206 in 2009. Soon after the results were out, Kerala leader and former Minister K V Thomas had said that Priyanka should assume a larger role and work with Rahul as a team.

"As a Congressman, we wish that Priyanka Gandhi should come to the main arena. She should work with mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul Gandhi as a team....Priyanka is a big fighter. We have seen that in this election. Many people see madam Indira Gandhi in her. She is able to attract the people," Thomas had said then.

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