Priyanka & Yang Mi Added to A-List Portfolio of Ambassadors for Crocs

A notable team of global ambassadors, an introspective visual marketing campaign, trend-setting new styles, and comfort innovation – being comfortable in your own shoes has never been better.

Crocs, Inc. a global leader in innovative casual footwear for women, men, and children, today launched the fourth year of its “Come As You Are” global marketing campaign including new top-tier talent, as well as new product innovations for spring 2020.

New to the Crocs global ambassador roster are Priyanka Chopra Jonas, actor, producer and global UNICEF ambassador; and Yang Mi, renowned Chinese actress. Both join U.S. singer and actress Zooey Deschanel, South Korean singer and actress Kim Sejeong, and Japanese actress Suzu Hirose.

As global ambassadors for the Crocs brand in 2020, they will inspire fans to feel comfortable in their own shoes by showing their personal Crocs style through exciting new collections, and encouraging everyone to come as they are through inspirational content and activations throughout the year.

In addition to the global ambassadors, Crocs has also enlisted a diverse cast of models and influencers recognized as “One-Of-A-Kinds” to bring more personal meaning to the “Come As You Are” brand message. This new cast represent different ages, backgrounds, beliefs, orientations, and abilities to welcome all Crocs fansto express their individuality and be comfortable in their own shoes. The influencers and models will be featured in campaign photography and imagery that will be leveraged in 2020, and will be encouraged to engage with fans through forums like social media to show that everyone is welcome and empowered to be a part of the Crocs brand.

“The fourth iteration of the Come As You Are campaign is a proclamation to our fans: It’s time to stand up and stand out,” said Terence Reilly, Crocs Chief Marketing Officer. “Our new lineup of global brand ambassadors and ‘One-Of-A-Kinds’ambassadors offers the perfect mix of star power and authentic representation to help CrocNation feel empowered and emboldened to own who they are.”

Alongside the “Come As You Are” brand campaign, Crocs’marketing efforts will focus on new, style-forward products, as well as continued leadership in footwear comfort innovation, including the spring launch of the “must have” shoe of 2020: the Women’s Crocs Brooklyn Wedge. Available in a variety of heel heights, colorways and sophisticated yet simple silhouettes, each wedge features sensationally comfortable LiteRide™ foam technology. The lightweight construction, intuitive upper straps and revolutionary comfort technology create effortless style, superior all-day comfort and ultimate wardrobe versatility.

A selection of core products you can expect to see this spring as part of the Crocs portfolio include:

  • LiteRide™ – This collection was created to be worn on your terms, at any pace. Featuring LiteRide™ foam footbeds, the latest breakthrough in world-class comfort, LiteRide™ shoes are engineered to make you feel sensational with every step along life’s winding path. Take a ride in the superbly cushioned Clog, Pacer sneaker, or revamped Women’s Stretch Sandal.
  • Crocs Sandal Shop – There’s more to Crocs than just clogs. With exciting new products and a perfect pair for every wear, the Sandal Shop features must-have sandals, slides, and wedges for the season including the all new, elevated Crocs Brooklyn Wedge and strappy Crocs Tulum Collections, as well as favorites like the revamped Classic Crocs Slide and Swiftwater™ Collection.
  • Classics and Jibbitz™ charms –Consumers can also expect to see the classic clogs and slides they know and love in new, trend-right colorways like Cantaloupe, Neo Mint, Lemon and Electric Pink. Jibbitz™ charms will also be prevalent with new styles available constantly throughout the year based on consumer trends and seasonality, encouraging consumers to add a personalized touch to further express their own style.

“Day or night, beach or city street, Crocs has a shoe for every person and every occasion,” says Reilly. “As this year’s roster of ambassadors share how they style some of our most popular products – from our Classic Clogs and Slides to the new Crocs Brooklyn Wedge which is THE shoe of 2020 – they’ll infuse their own personalities, showcasing how self-expression, comfort and style are not mutually exclusive.”

To help spread the word, “Come As You Are” will be seen through various digital, social, print, and in-store marketing materials with a global focus on countries including United States, Germany, China, Japan, and South Korea.

To learn more about the “Come As You Are” campaign, visit


Priyanka & Crocs to Donate 50,000 Pairs of Classic Clogs to UNICEF

As part of her Brand Ambassador role with Crocs, Chopra Jonas secured a partnership between the iconic shoe brand and UNICEF; now, the organizations will join forces to support underserved school children  in Belize.

Crocs, Inc. in partnership with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas, today announced that50,000 pairs of Crocs Classic clogs will be donated over the next year to underserved school children in Belize through UNICEF. This charitable contribution supports the actor’s joint mission to help children around the world and provide them with more opportunities to achieve an education.

Recently, Crocs announced award-winning actor, activist, and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas would serve as a global brand ambassador for its 2020 “Come As You Are” marketing campaign. A special element of the partnership is this collaboration to jointly support UNICEF.

“At Crocs, we believe being comfortable in your own shoes is a first step to accessing quality education,” said Heidi Cooley, Vice President of Global Marketing, Crocs. “With this donation, we hope to deliver shoes to more than half of the student population attending primary and secondary school classes in Belize, while reducing the financial burden for their families.”

“As a global ambassador for UNICEF, I’m dedicated to connecting organizations that together can have a large and positive impact on children around the world,” said Priyanka Chopra Jonas. “Working with Crocs to distribute more than 50,000 pairs of their Classic Clogs will have a tremendous impact on school-age children in Belize, reducing barriers to education, and easing social and peer-related stressors that come with not having basic everyday resources that many take for granted.”

Barriers to education in Belize include poverty, disability, late entry, and inadequate preparation for primary school, among other factors. In November, members of UNICEF USA and Crocs visited Belize where they distributed an initial 25,000 pairs of Crocs – the first of two parts of this donation – to students. A video documenting that journey and showing first-hand the positive impact of the contribution can be found linked here.

“UNICEF USA is grateful for Crocs’ generous shoe donation to help remove one of the barriers that can hinder school attendance in Belize, especially during early childhood education,” said Gabriella Morris, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, UNICEF USA. “Education is essential for children to live to their fullest potential, and together, we can help give each child the opportunity for quality education.”


Chidambaram being hunted for exposing government: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra came out in support of former union minister P. Chidambaram — who currently facing action at the hands of CBI and ED in the INX Media case — saying the latter was being “hunted down” for speaking the truth which is “inconvenient to cowards”.

Priyanka said the party stands by Chidambaram. who has been used a notice by the CBI to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours?

Her strong support to Chidambaram, who has also been a home minister, comes a day after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him any protection from arrest in the INX media case.

“An extremely qualified and respected member of the Rajya Sabha, P Chidambaram ji has served our nation with loyalty for decades including as Finance Minister & Home Minister,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet.

“He unhesitatingly speaks truth to power and exposes the failures of this government, but the truth is inconvenient to cowards so he is being shamefully hunted down. We stand by him and will continue to fight for the truth no matter what the consequences are,” she said.

Hours after the High Court ruling, a team of CBI officers landed at Chidambaram’s Jor Bagh residence to locate him, but left after not finding the leader there.

Chidambaram’s lawyer, Arshdeep Singh Khurana, has written to CBI after the agency put up a notice outside Chidambaram’s residence stating “the notice fails to mention the provision of law under which my client has been issued a notice to appear within 2 hours.”

Khurana added that his client had been permitted by SC to mention the urgent Special Leave Petition against the order before Court at 10:30 am today. “I, therefore, request you not to take any coercive action against my client till then&await the hearing at 10:30 am.”



Lower court order in Pehlu Khan case surprising: Priyanka Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 16 Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday described the lower court order in Pehlu Khan mob lynching case as “surprising” saying there should be no place for an inhuman act in our country and the Rajasthan government”s decision to bring a law on mob lynching is a welcome decision.

“The lower court decision in the Pehlu Khan case is surprising. There is no place for inhuman act and killing of a man by the mob in our country,” she said in a series of tweets on Friday.

“Law being brought by the Rajasthan government against mob lynching is a welcome decision. Hope that Rajasthan government will provide justice to Pehlu Khan and give a good example,” she said in another tweet.

Her remarks came two days after a lower court in Alwar acquitted all the six accused in Pehlu Khan death case.

Pehlu Khan was beaten by a mob of cow vigilantes on April 1, 2017 on the suspicion of cattle smuggling.



Sonebhadra is now Catch-22 for Priyanka gandhi, Yogi

The Sonebhadra episode is turning into a Catch-22 situation for both, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Priyanka, who spent the night at the Chunar Guest House, said on Saturday morning that she would not return to Delhi without meetings the victims of the Sonebhadra carnage.

The Congress leader’s arrest — which district officials term “preventive detention” — has already spurred the Congress into action with the party planning to hold nationwide protests on Saturday.

Priyanka, at this stage cannot politically afford to retrace her steps and return to Delhi since that would reflect poorly on her party. Knowing her determination, and the response she is getting, it seems that she will prolong the dharna unless she is allowed to visit the victims’ families.

Yogi Adityanath, on the other hand, will not allow Priyanka to visit Sonebhadra. If he does, it will be a major moral victory for the Congress.

If Priyanka’s detention was a mistake, the BJP government will have to continue bearing the cross.

Top officials, till late on Friday night, tried to persuade the Congress leader to fill up the bail bond and return to Delhi.

“I will not pay a penny for the bail bond which they showed me on Friday night. I am ready to go to jail if this is what they want. I have not broken any rules. I even agreed to go to Sonebhadra with just two people so that the prohibitory orders are not violated,” she curtly told them.

Priyanka was reportedly asked to pay a bail amount of Rs 50,000 or face jail time of 14 days on Friday night.

“I did not break any law, nor did I commit any crime. In fact, I had made it clear that I am ready to meet the tribals alone if that is what the administration wants. Despite this, the administration has been doing this drama. The public is seeing everything. I consider bail in this matter completely immoral and I am not ready to pay it,” she said.

The Congress General Secretary apparently spent an uncomfortable night in the guest house but did not complain. Power supply in the guest house had been shut off late on Friday evening and was restored around midnight. Priyanka sat in the open with Congress workers, listening to their views.

Other Congress leaders, including legislature party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu also slept on the floor at the guest house.

District Magistrate Anurag Patel said that the power cut was part of routine load shedding.

Later in the night, senior Congress leader P.L. Punia reached Chunar to extend support to the Congress leaders. More leaders are expected to join Priyanka on Saturday.

It may be recalled that Priyanka had arrived in Varanasi on Friday morning and visited the Trauma Centre at BHU to meet those who had been injured in Wednesday’s massacre in Sonebhadra.

Priyanka, while she was on her way to Sonebhadra, was detained at Narayanpur in Mirzapur. She asked officials to show her the necessary orders for stopping her from going to Sonebhadra but officials merely said that they had verbal orders from the ‘top’.

Thereafter, Priyanka and other Congress leaders were taken to the Chunar Guest house.

Ten persons had been killed and two dozen injured in a caste clash over a land dispute in Murtiya village in Sonebhadra. Priyanka had come from Delhi to meet the victims’ families.



Priyanka Gandhi remains under detention in Uttar Pradesh

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi remained in detention here on Saturday as she refused to fill the bail bond, 19 hours after she was driven to a guest house after she insisted on proceeding to Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh where 10 people were killed in clashes over a land dispute on Wednesday.

She also described the killings of the members of the Gond tribe as “massacre”.

Late on Friday, some government officials also arrived at the Chunar guest house to ask the Congress leader to return to Delhi. However, she remained adamant.

“The Uttar Pradesh government has sent ADG Varanasi Brij Bhushan, Varanasi Commissioner Deepak Agarwal, Commissioner Mirzapur and DIG Mirzapur to tell me that I should return without meeting the victims’ families. They have not given me any reason or documents for detaining me,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

“I have made it clear to them that I have not come here to break any law but to meet the families and I won’t return without meeting them,” she said.

The officials then left the guest house at around 1.30 a.m.

Earlier on Friday, Priyanka Gandhi refused to fill the bail bond of Rs 50,000.

“I have not done anything wrong and so I will not fill the bail bond. District administration and the government is free to send me to jail if they want,” she said.

She has said that the administration informed her that she was detained under section 107/116 of the CrPC.

Gandhi was detained at the Chunar Guest House here after she was stopped from going to Murtiya village in Sonebhadra district. The police denied that she had been arrested.

The Congress leader arrived in Varanasi on Friday morning and met the injured persons admitted to the Trauma Centre of the Banaras Hindu University. When she proceeded towards Sonebhadra, her convoy was stopped on the Mirzapur border.

A defiant Gandhi then squatted on the ground with the Congress workers and was later taken away in a government vehicle to Chunar.

At least 10 people, including three women, died and over 24 were injured in a clash between Gond and Gujjar communities over a land dispute in Sonebhadra on Wednesday.

Even while she remained under detention, scores of Congress workers and locals gathered at the guest house to meet her with whom she held discussions on several issues.

The police have arrested 29 people, including the kingpin Yogesh Dutt, in connection with the violence in Sonebhadra. A case has been filed against 78 people.



Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to visit Sonbhadra to meet victims’ families

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will meet on Friday the family members of the victims belonging to the Gond community who died in a clash over land dispute in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district.

Senior party leaders said that Gandhi, who is also in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, will visit Ubhbha village of Ghoraval tehsil in the district.

Ten persons were killed and over 24 injured in clashes over a land dispute in Sonbhadra district on Wednesday. According to reports, the incident took place when a dispute arose over a piece of land between the Gujjar and Gond communities.

Police has so far arrested 24 people in connection with the case for the mass murder and is conducting raids to nab all the accused.

A case has been registered against 78 people in this connection, including 50 unidentified persons.

The village head Yagdutt, his brother and others were charged under the SC/ST Act on the plea of a local named Lallu Singh.

According to police, two weapons used in the carnage have also been recovered. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also directed Director General of Police O.P. Singh to keep a close watch on the case.



Priyanka Gandhi joins #SareeTwitter, wants ‘dinner date’ with hubby

The #SareeTwitter trend that has been viral for the past couple of days got a huge boost on Wednesday after Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared a throwback picture from her wedding day.

Tens of thousands of people liked the photograph within hours that showed Priyanka Gandhi draped in a pink Banarasi saree.

“Morning puja on the day of my wedding (22 years ago!) #SareeTwitter,” read the caption of the photograph from the 47-year-old granddaughter of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Even though she mentioned #SareeTwitter, many users mistook the day for her wedding anniversary and started wishing her happiness.

“Happy wedding anniversary @priyankagandhi stay blessed…I always trolled u but today No. Be happy always,” wrote one user.

But Priyanka Gandhi soon clarified that her anniversary falls in February and the post was just for #SareeTwitter.

“Thanks for all the anniversary wishes…but it’s just a throwback photo for the #SareeTwitter guys, my anniv is in Feb,” she tweeted.

“@irobertvadra, you can still take me out for dinner,” she said in another tweet addressed to her husband Robert Vadra.

The wink emoji at the end of the tweet revealed the lighter side of the Congress heavyweight.

The #SareeTwitter trend that began on Monday has already charmed India, generating posts from political leaders, film actresses, journalists and women.

Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu also shared a saree picture on Tuesday.

“Now that @MaryKayCarlson has left Delhi, I am stepping up for my diplomatic sisters on #SareeTwitter. This saree was part of my Mum’s wedding trousseau. Yes, it’s older than me,” Sidhu wrote in the caption of the picture.

The U.S. Consul General in Hyderabad, Katherine Hadda, also flaunted her pictures draped in beautiful sarees.

And if you thought only women from India and abroad are posting their #SareeTwitter pictures, that is not entirely true.

Actor Ayushmann Khurrana joined the #SareeTwitter bandwagon by posting a picture of himself in a saree.

The post revealed a still from his upcoming film “Dream Girl”.

“#Dreamgirl later this this year. Sigh. #SareeTwitter,” read the caption of the post.



BJP not taking action against erring lawmakers: Priyanka

A day after BJP MP Ram Shankar Katheria’s bodyguard was booked for beating up a toll plaza staff in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday took a swipe at the BJP government for not taking action against its lawless lawmakers.

“After winning the elections, the BJP leaders instead of serving the people, are beating people. Some high on power thrash officials with bat while some open fire and beat up toll staff with sticks on being asked for toll fee… Is there any chance of strict action against them?” she tweeted in Hindi.

On Saturday, CCTV footage from a toll booth on the inner ring road in Agra went viral on the social media in which Etawah MP’s security staff was seen beating up a toll employee and firing in the air.

According to sources, the toll plaza employee had asked for payment for all the vehicles in the MP’s convoy. The victim later lodged a complaint against the MP and his security personnel at Etmadpur Police Station.

Agra’s Senior Superintendent of Police Bablu Kumar said an FIR has been registered on the basis of the complaint and the CCTV footage was being investigated to find out the truth.

In June, BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s son, Akash Vijayvargiya, who is also a party legislator from Madhya Pradesh, hit an Indore Municipality employee with a cricket bat to protest against a demolition drive.

The junior Vijayvargiya was arrested, but released on bail three days later.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned Akash Vijayvargiya’s actions at a BJP parliamentary party meeting, saying: “Errant leaders have no place in the BJP.”



Few have courage like you do: Priyanka on Rahul’s resignation

A day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi stepped down from the party post issuing his resignation on a public platform owning responsibility for the party’s national election debacle, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “Few have the courage that you do”.

Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday posted a long letter on Twitter conveying his decision and asserting that he had resigned as “accountability is critical” for the future growth of the party.

“Few have the courage that you do @rahulgandhi. Deepest respect for your decision,” tweeted Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, and re-tweeted her brother’s post.

In his letter on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi had said: “It is a habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power. But we will not defeat our opponents without sacrificing the desire for power and fighting a deeper ideological battle.”

Rahul Gandhi had first told the Congress Working Committee about his decision to quit on May 25, just days after the national election verdict that delivered a straight rout for the party a second time against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.

As party chief his defeat in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, that reduced the party to just one out of the 80 seats in the state, also hit hard



Priyanka condoles death of children in Lucknow accident

Hours after two more bodies of children were taken out from a canal in Lucknow, taking to five the toll in Thursday’s accident, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday condoled the deaths and asked party workers to console the families.

“The news of the death of children in the accident that took place in a canal at Nagaram near Lucknow is saddening. My condolences are with the family members in the hour of grief. May God give them the power to endure these sufferings.

“Congress workers should reach out to the bereaved families and provide them consolation and support,” Priyanka Gandhi, who is in charge of party affairs in east UP, said in a series of tweets.

A SUV carrying 29 people fell into a canal in Lucknow around 3 a.m. on Thursday, and while the adults managed to escape, seven children were missing and were feared dead.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force on Friday recovered two bodies from the canal, after three found earlier.



Priyanka, Nick share a kiss at Billboard Music Awards

Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared a kiss with her husband and pop singer Nick Jonas at the Billboard Awards 2019 here.

The actress shared an Instagram stories post where she, along with Sophie Turner and Danielle Jonas, is seen enjoying a performance by the Jonas Brothers and also sang along the number “Sucker” with them.

In one video, as the Jonas Brothers move on the stage, Nick reaches out to Priyanka, bends and the two kiss.

Nick also shared photographs and video on his Instagram where he praised his wife for looking beautiful. “The Jonai in Vegas,” he captioned the image.

In another video, Nick said: “My wife is looking hot.”

Priyanka tied the knot with Nick in two extravagant ceremonies at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.

On the acting front, Priyanka has wrapped up filming “The Sky is Pink”, directed by Shonali Bose. She has also announced an India-set wedding comedy in which she will collaborate with writer-actor Mindy Kaling.



Priyanka dismisses allegations over Rahul’s citizenship

Soon after the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s to clarify his citizenship, his sister and the party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday dismissed the allegations as rubbish and said her brother was an Indian who was born and brought up in India.

“I have not heard such a rubbish earlier,” Priyanka Gandhi told the media here.

“The entire country knows that Rahul Gandhi is an Indian. He was born in front of all here, he grew up here and in front of all he grew, everyone knows this,” she said.

Her remarks came after the Ministry issued the notice to Rahul Gandhi to clarify his nationality within a fortnight after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy alleged that he is a British national.

Priyanka Gandhi is on a day-long visit to the parliamentary constituency of her brother Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, where he is locked in a tough fight against BJP leader Smriti Irani, who is re-contesting from the seat.

On Wednesday, she will visit Rae Bareli, the constituency of her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi

Amethi and Rae Bareli will head to polls in the fifth phase on May 6 of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.



Priyanka is subtle, Rahul directly attacks Prime Minister

It has been a style of contrast in campaign by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is the party’s star campaigner for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

While Rahul has adopted an aggressive no-holds barred approach in attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, mainly over the Rafale issue, Priyanka has hardly mentioned the fighter jet deal matter directly.

Rahul’s attack against the Prime Minister, with the repeated “chowkidar chor hai” jibe, is along the expected lines as the Congress chief has been highlighting the controversial defence deal.

“Rahul is pursuing a no-holds barred approach and attacks the Prime Minister directly as he is expected to be doing so by virtue of the party position that he has,” said a party strategist.

The Congress President’s main focus is to present Modi as pro-rich while reiterating that the Congress cares for inclusive growth.

Priyanka, on the other hand, has targeted the Prime Minister without naming him and has instead centered her campaign around his “unfulfilled” promises.

She has also tried to defuse the Prime Minister’s references to Pakistan and the Nehru-Gandhi family.

“This is Priyanka’s style. She takes on the Prime Minister without naming him and getting into a direct confrontation but delivers the punch,” said a strategist involved in her campaign.

“She has focused on social justice by highlighting the plight of youth due to lack of jobs, farmers suffering from widespread rural distress and women seeking better law and order situation,” he said.

Citing examples, party leaders said Priyanka took a dig at the Prime Minister by saying that the leader had time to travel to the US and Japan but did not visit a poor family in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, which he promised to develop on the lines of Kyoto.

Further, she tried to defuse references to Pakistan saying the Prime Minister had gone to eat Biryani there.

“Priyanka smartly countered the attacks on late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi by saying if the BJP leaders were real nationalists, they should respect all martyrs as both Indira and Rajiv gave up their lives for the country. This way she was able to bring up the family references before the young voters,” said a senior AICC functionary.

Priyanka’s subtle political messaging is quite different than Rahul’s rough and ready approach and suits the personalities of both the leaders, some party managers said.

Others thought that inviting the ire of the Supreme Court over the “chowkidar chor hai” jibe could have been avoided in the middle of the crucial elections.

Pointing out at another aspect of Priyanka’s voter connect, a Congress insider said she has been presenting herself as a lower middle class person by spending time with girl students, rural women and even chiding party workers over poll preparation.



Priyanka ‘chickened out’ from Varanasi; Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday took a swipe at the Congress over party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi and said she has “chickened out” and the country has been denied the opportunity to see that “it does not accept inexperienced dynasts with no other credentials”.

In a blog post “Refuge in Wayanad and a Refuge Away From Varanasi – The Story of a Family Dynasty”, Jaitley said that two major political developments took place on Thursday. The first, he said, was the “huge road show” of Modi at Varanasi and the second was “surreptitious announcement” by the Congress of fielding “a political lightweight” against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart.

“The build-up of the last two weeks had been that Priyanka Gandhi would be fielded against the Prime Minister. She rejoiced in giving daily bytes to the media that she was ready to take on the Prime Minister. Her brother claimed that the party was building up the suspense for an eventual thriller,” Jaitley said.

“Obviously, she quietly chickened out of the contest. I am deeply disappointed with the Congress party’s decision of not fielding Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi. The last two months that she has been in the public life has driven home the point — ‘India has changed, dynasties don’t matter’,” he wrote.

Jaitley said that the myths about Priyanka Gandhi stand eroded.

He said that India’s conventional wisdom has been “bund mutthi to laakh ki, khul gayi to khaak ki” (a hidden thing is worth a lakh but once opened it has no value) and the myth of “Priyanka will make a difference” was worth a lakh.

“Today, the myth has lost its value. The cards are out in the open for public scrutiny,” he said.

The BJP leader said that the Gandhis must introspect the plight of Amethi and Rae Bareli in the last 40 years and compare it to what the Prime Minister has done in Varanasi in the past five years.

“I had only hoped that Varanasi will give the new India an opportunity to decide the fate of a tried, tested and successful leader as against a new political dynast. Just repeating the same five sentences several times a day and not getting out of the obsession of ‘hamara parivar’ (our family) does not impress ‘New India’ any more.

“I am sad that new India has been denied the opportunity to establish that it does not accept inexperienced dynasts with no other credentials. India is not a banana republic. It is the world’s largest democracy,” he said.

Jaitley said that the episode has established one additional point. “It is only juvenile politics, where a family lives under an illusion that people will accept it irrespective of credentials, which persuades you to build a climax of Priyanka taking on the Prime Minister and then suffer the wrath of the anti-climax.”

The Congress on Thursday announced the candidature of former MLA Ajay Rai from Varanasi, ending speculation of Priyanka Gandhi being fielded from the constituency.

Jaitley said Modi’s roadshow culminated in the customary Ganga Aarti and if the size of the support expressed at the roadshow is any indication, he is well on the way to repeating or even increasing the 2014 victory margin.

“Even a casual visitor to Varanasi would tell you the difference which the Prime Minister has made in his constituency in the last five years.”

He said the new highways, arterial roads, ghats, railway station, airport, steamer in the Ganga and the modernisation of the electricity systems are only a few examples of the change that has happened in Varanasi.

He also referred to the proposed corridor connecting the Ganga Ghats with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in one of the world’s oldest cities.




No Priyanka Gandhi in Varanasi, Congress fields Ajay Rai

The Congress on Thursday announced the candidature of former MLA Ajay Raj from Varanasi to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the prestigious constituency.

The decision ends speculation that Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi may be fielded in Varanasi.

Ajay Raj had also contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi and had ranked third with over 75,000 votes, behind AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.

A Bhumihar by caste, Ajay Raj wields considerable influence over his community in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Party leaders say he is the best bet for the Congress in the region.

The Congress also announced Madhusdan Tiwari as its candidate from Gorakhpur.



Priyanka Gandhi slams Smriti for misleading Amethi voters

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday slammed Union Minister Smriti Irani, saying she is out to insult the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli — the strongholds of the Gandhis.

“The people of Amethi and Rae Bareli have self-respect. They have never begged before anyone for anything… She (Irani) is insulting them…let them (BJP) beg for votes,” Vadra said referring to the Minister who had earlier distributed shoes to the locals.

Irani had contested the 2014 national elections from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi but lost and has been again fielded by the ruling party to challenge the Congress President.

Vadra, who had been managing the two VVIP constituencies in the past, has taken up the role of AICC general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (East) and is campaigning all over the country.

On Monday, she was apparently furious that Irani was trying to do Rahul’s work by distributing shoes to the locals and show that the villagers had seen no development.

“Go, tell them that the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli support those who stand amidst them,” she said.

Vadra accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of misleading the voters in Amethi and elsewhere and charged them with neglecting the basic issues concerning the people.

“I have been visiting UP…I have seen the pain of the farmers who complain that stray cattle is destroying their fields…I have heard small traders complain of GST worries…I have seen youth at the crossings lament about joblessness…,” she said.



Priyanka Gandhi slams Modi government over OROP 

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Friday accused the Narendra Modi government of politicising the Armed Forces by calling the one rank one pension (OROP) a favour to them.

The Congress General Secretary was holding a roadshow while campaigning for his party’s Kanpur candidate Sriprakash Jaiswal here. She kicked off her roadshow from Ghantaghar area and concluded it at Bada Chauraha after covering a distance of five kms.

Addressing party supporters at the Phoolbagh crossing, she said, “When I was coming here from the airport, there were lots of posters and hoardings along the way. One of the hoardings that read ‘Sena ko OROP ka uphaar’ (OROP gift to the armed forces) got me thinking.

“Is the OROP really a gift and favour to the Armed Forces or is it their right? The right of the Armed Forces is being publicised as a favour by the government. What is this mentality and who will change it?” she asked the crowd.

She also targeted the Modi government over demonetisation. “They turned it into a mission of patriotism by telling you that it (demonetisation) will bring back black money. You all were made to stand in queues for the country. But the black money did not come back. On the contrary, a few industrialists benefitted from it,” she alleged.

The Congress leader also attacked the government for a flawed implementation of the goods and the services tax (GST), which she said had killed thousands of small businesses.

She urged the crowd raising slogans like “Priyanka nahi ye aandhi hai, doosri Indira Gandhi hai” to not compare her with her grandmother. “Please don’t humiliate me. I am nothing in front of her. You all know that… she made a sacrifice for the country.”

She added that she shared her grandmother’s will to serve the people. “Whether you give us a chance or not, we will keep serving you all,” she said.

Comparing her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi to Modi, Priyanka said, “One (Modi) does not have the strength to endure, while the other who is abused daily endures everything and keeps on smiling. This is called political will and confidence.”

Earlier arriving at the Fursatganj Airport in Rae Bareli, her mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency in the morning, Priyanka travelled to Gauriganj by road for a meeting with her party workers as well as senior leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) to discuss poll preparedness in the district.

A senior Congress leader told IANS: “BSP district chief Dilip Kumar and JAP district chief Vipin Kumar attended the five-hour long meeting and assured her all help in Amethi, where Rahul Gandhi is facing a stiff challenge from BJP’s Smriti Irani.”

Asked about the absence of Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders from the meeting, the Congress leader said that they will organise a meeting with Priyanka, the Congress in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, on their own.

The BSP-SP-RLD alliance has not put up any candidate in the Amethi and Rae Bareli seats.



Priyanka Chaturvedi quits Congress, to join Shiv Sena

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi has quit the party in protest against the misbehaviour by some colleagues in Mathura and is set to join the Shiv Sena on Friday.

“She has decided to join the Shiv Sena. She will join today (Friday) at Matoshree in the presence of our President Uddhav Thackeray,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande told IANS.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut had earlier hinted that Chaturvedi was going to join the Sena.

In a letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday which became public on Friday, Chaturvedi said that in the last few weeks certain things had convinced her that her services were not valued in the party any more.

In the letter, she said it saddened her that despite the safety, dignity and empowerment of women being promoted by the Congress, “the same is not reflected in the action of some of the members of the party”.

“A serious incident and misbehaviour against me by certain party members while I was on official duty for the party has been ignored under the guise of all hands needed for elections. This indignity to me has been the final factor to convince me to move on and focus on other things outside INC,” she wrote.

On Wednesday, Chaturvedi hit out at the Congress for reinstating members who had been suspended recently for misbehaving with her at a press conference in Mathura, saying “those who threatened her within the party got away with not even a rap”.



Rahul, Priyanka in demand in Jharkhand, not Siddhu

The Congress in Jharkhand, desperate to open its account in the Lok Sabha from the state, is keen that party President Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi campaign for its candidates. There are no takers for Navjot Siddhu.

The Congress has formed an alliance with the JMM, RJD and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P). The Congress is fighting on seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats.

“Our candidates want Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi to campaign,” Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Kishore Sahdeo told IANS.

Congress sources said that the candidates do not want cricketer-turned-politician Siddhu.

“Siddhu’s recent controversial statements seems to be working against the party. Siddhu is outspoken and does not care for what he says. The candidate do not want to take any risk by inviting him for campaigning,” a Congress leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, Congress fought on nine seats but failed to win even one. The JMM contested on four seats and won two.

In 2019, the Congress wants a repeat of the 2004 result when it won six Lok Sabha seats.

Jharkhand will go to the polls on April 29 as well as May 6, 12 and 19.



Priyanka Gandhi attacks BJP for instructor’s suicide

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday attacked the BJP for its instructor’s suicide case in Uttar Pradesh saying that the ruling party had brought its employees to a position where they were forced to commit suicide.

“The incident of Banda is very sad. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has brought the employees to the position that they are forced to commit suicide. The BJP has deceived the instructors and these hardworking employees are facing severe financial straits. The people of Uttar Pradesh will not forgive,” Gandhi tweeted.

Reportedly, Rajesh Kumar Patel, an instructor in a middle school in a village in Banda district in Uttar Pradesh, committed suicide on Wednesday night. He was struggling with financial straits as he was not paid honorarium from the last three months.