Against the backdrop of debacle in Lok Sabha polls, voices for bringing Priyanka Gandhi to the forefront in politics grew stronger within the Congress party with at least two leaders today saying she is a "big fighter" and has the "natural ability" to connect with people.
Outgoing Food Minister KV Thomas said there should be internal party elections in the Congress right from the booth-level. "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," Thomas told PTI. "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," said Thomas, who won the Lok Sabha election from Ernakulum constituency in Kerala.
He was asked about the reasons for defeat of the Congress party in the just-concluded general elections and steps needed to be taken for revival of the party. He insisted that Rahul should not be blamed for the debacle, saying "We work as a team. So team has to share victory as well as defeat".
On the reasons for defeat, he said, "What went wrong, we have to analayse that. UPA I and II have taken number of initiatives like Right to Food and MNREGA. Economy has also improved. But we could not convey our achievements to people." On the other hand, the Congress leader said, Modi was "one-man army" who got backing of RSS and corporate houses. "We respect the verdict of the people. Let him (Narendra Modi) do the good job. We will play the role of a healthy and constructive opposition."
Raju, outgoing HRD minister, said Priyanka has always been supportive of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. "Whether she will come to the forefront is a personal choice... I think she has a natural ability to connect with the people... It is indeed a strength," Raju said, adding her association with Congres is "integral".
Congress party has always maintained that Priyanka's role was limited to Amethi and Rae Bareli in this election.