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Priyanka’s entry already has a significant impact says Salman Khurshid

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, Feb 22: 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 NDA in the Lok Sabha elections, says senior party leader Salman Khurshid.

Priyanka’s entry already has a significant impact says Salman Khurshid

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.

He said the time is running out for the Congress to seal seat-sharing pacts, but added the party had been working fairly tirelessly to conclude such talks within a specific time schedule.

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"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," Khurshid told PTI in an interview.

Asked if there is still hope the Congress can go together with Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh for the polls -- the two parties had excluded the Rahul Gandhi-led oufit in seat-sharing deal --, he said his party is proceeding on the assumption that it has to be on its own.

"But I understand there is a whisper that... may be there will be rethinking 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 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.

Khurshid said the immediate impact of Priyanka'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," Khurshid said.

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On the perception in some quarters that Priyanka may overshadow her brother, he 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," Khurshid added.

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