Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said that her party was open to the idea of forming an alliance with other political outfits ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, PTI reported.

“Though we are not close-minded on the issue, it is too early to say anything at the moment,” she said. When asked specifically about a possible alliance, the Congress leader said the party will not take any decision that would weaken it, reported The Times of India.

Vadra said that the Congress was aiming to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state and was ready to do anything for it. “Congress will finalise its strategy as per the circumstances,” she added.

The 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly is likely to go to polls in February or March 2022. In the 2017 elections, the BJP and its allies had won 305 seats. The Congress only managed to get seven seats, while its ally Samajwadi Party won 47 seats.

Though the state elections are months away, several parties have already announced tentative plans for alliances. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has said that her party will contest the elections alone. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Aazad said that his political outfit, the Aazad Samaj Party, was ready to forge alliances with all anti-BJP forces.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi has said that his party will form an alliance with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has said that his party will form an alliance with small political parties, reported Firstpost.

‘Won’t be cowed down by BJP’

On Sunday, Vadra also hit back at the BJP for calling her a political tourist.

Without naming Vadra, BJP chief JP Nadda had said on Friday that “political tourists see politics as tourism, they do not come to power for service unlike BJP”, reported The Indian Express. Vadra had reached Lucknow that day for a three-day election preparation visit.

In response, Vadra said on Sunday that she visited Uttar Pradesh regularly. “This is BJP’s propaganda to show me and my brother Rahul as non-serious politicians and we are not going to be cowed down by it,” she said. “[The] Congress has raised every matter that affects the life of people, especially in the past 18 months.”

Vadra admitted that the Congress had been out of power for 32 years in the state but added that her party was working to build the organisation, reported IANS. “We have been able to build our cadres till the level of the gram panchayat and Congress will contest the elections with full might,” she said.

Vadra added that she was trying to meet as many party workers and groups as possible. “My WhatsApp number is with everyone and it is wrong to say that I am not accessible,” Vadra said.