Seeing "winds of change" after the Gujarat Assembly and Rajasthan by-elections, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said her party will work with like-minded parties to defeat the BJP in the next general elections which she felt could be held early.She also expressed confidence that the party would retain power in the Karnataka Assembly elections."As for myself, as Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, I will work with the Congress President and other colleagues in discussions with like-minded political parties to ensure that in the next election the BJP is defeated and India is restored to a democratic, inclusive, secular, tolerant and economically progressive path," Gandhi said addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party here.Referring to the recent bye-elections in Rajasthan, which the party swept, and the Gujarat Assembly polls where it put up a creditable performance, Gandhi said: "We performed very creditably under tough circumstances in Gujarat and the (victories in the) just held by-elections in Rajasthan were huge. This shows that the winds of change are coming.
"I am sure that very soon the election results in Karnataka too will underline the resurgence of the Congress," she added.Extending her son Rahul Gandhi best wishes in his new role as the party chief and acknowledging that he was now also her boss, Gandhi said that the process of the party's revival has started under Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi hoped that the party workers and leaders would work with Rahul Gandhi with the same dedication as they did with her in her long tenure of 19 years."We have elected a new Congress President and on your behalf and on my own, I wish him all the very best. He is now my boss, too. Let there be no doubt about that - and I know that all of you will work with him with the same dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm as you did with me.
"I am confident that we will work cohesively under his leadership to revive our party's fortunes. That process has begun," she said. Terming the 2014 electoral debacle of the party as an "aberration", she called upon party workers to channelise the "discontent" among people against the Modi government."We have to be in a state of readiness for the national elections which are due in slightly over a year - and might well be called earlier as they were in 2004. No doubt 2014 was a severe setback, but I am convinced that it was an aberration. "Increasingly, the people of our country, people belonging to all sections of our society, are getting disillusioned with the present regime. It is for us to channel this discontent into support (for the opposition)," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have floated the idea of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Assemblies and have called for a political consensus on the issue, setting off speculation that there could be early elections to Lok Sabha this year along with the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.Gandhi called for building a positive and credible narrative against the Modi government."We have demonstrated our resilience before and we are now called upon to do so again. For this we must not only highlight the abject failures of the Modi government but more importantly, build a positive and credible narrative for ourselves on issues of public concern," she said.