Priyanka Gandhi virtually hit back at her cousin Varun Gandhi saying, people vote for her family members in Rai Bareli and Amethi not due to the Gandhi surname but due to the work done by them. At the same time she maintained people have a "special" relationship with her family here.
"Many people ask me why do our family members keep on winning from these seats. Some argue we are Gandhi's that's why we win but this is not true. Whether the name Gandhi is with us or not you would not have promoted us had we not worked," she said addressing an election meeting in Rahi village of Rae Bareli Parliamentary constituency.
Her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi is seeking a re-election from the seat after winning it 2004 Lok Sabha election and then again in the 2006 by-poll.
Priyanka's remarks come a day after her cousin and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Varun Gandhi said in Fatehpur that he wants to be known as "Gandhi by work" and not as "Gandhi by name." "You have seen from the period of Indira Gandhi, then Rajiv Gandhi that these people (members of Nehru Gandhi family) work...that politics is service and not business for them," Priyanka added.
Appearing a little surprised over Varun's remark, Priyanka had however maintained silence on Sunday when asked to comment. Without naming any party or any particular candidate, she warned people against communal politics and asked them who actually loses during a riot.
"There have been many communal riots in your state. Who was hurt first? Common people and not the leaders who suffer. Common men die and their homes are burnt but not those of the leaders," she said, warning people to be cautious of such political parties which try to provoke them in the name of caste and religion.
In Sandi Nagin village, Priyanka said such politics aims at keeping people backward and congratulated voters of Rae Bareli for making the "right choice in electing Sonia Gandhi" in 2004 and 2006 elections. Earlier in Amawan village, Priyanka asked people to vote for her mother to secure the future of their children.
"She (Sonia) is paying back your loan by securing future of your children because you have secured her children' future," she told the gathering. Reminding people of a change in tide in 1977 and 1998 LS elections, when Congress had lost to Janta Party and Bharatiya Janata Party, Priyanka told the people," You had not given us support one or more time but even then you were served by us." In 1977, Her grandmother Indira Gandhi had lost to Raj Narayan during the peak of the JP movement.