The Congress has gone well beyond whatever it has done in the past to reach out to opposition parties and bring them together to take on BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or NDA in the Lok Sabha elections due this year, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said.
The former union minister also said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's recent entry into active politics has energised the Congress ''troops'' ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due by May and the party workers' enthusiasm is very high.
Mr Khurshid said the time is running out for the Congress to seal seat-sharing pacts, but added that the party had been working fairly tirelessly to conclude such talks within a specific time schedule.
"I think we have gone well beyond whatever we have done any time in the past, we are doing everything that's possible. There are some contradictions that are difficult to handle, so let's see what happens," Mr Khurshid told news agency Press Trust of India in an interview.
Asked if there is still hope that the Congress can go together with Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections - the two parties had excluded the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress in a seat-sharing deal - he said the Congress is going ahead on the assumption that it has to be on its own.
"But I understand there is a whisper that maybe there will be rethinking of strategies in all the parties (BSP, SP and Congress) and there may be something possible. But frankly I have no firm indication of any such thing. We seem to be preparing to be on our own. But our party president (Rahul Gandhi) has taken a fairly soft position, saying repeatedly that we are willing to cooperate and we will cooperate and our objectives are common (to defeat the BJP). Beyond that it's a bit difficult to say right now," he said.
Salman Khurshid said the immediate impact of Priyanka Gandhi's entry into active politics is already being felt. "The enthusiasm of the (Congress) worker is certainly very high".
"She has energised the troops as it were", he said on the party's new general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
"We still have an election to fight and there is lot of hard work up ahead, and it's almost certain that her entry at this time will have a significant impact," Mr Khurshid said.
On the perception in some quarters that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may overshadow her brother, Mr Khurshid was dismissive. "They work very well together; they have been working for sometime. They have a very, very important personal bond between them. I think the timing and the decision (of her entry into politics) just as much as hers as it was Rahul Gandhi's," Mr Khurshid added.
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