"Priyanka Gandhi has shown that she has the Congress blood to fight injustice. Her fight against the Yogi Adityanath government has proved her leadership skills," the former Union Minister said.
Gandhi was detained and stopped Friday by UP police from going to Sonbhadra where 10 people were gunned down this week and taken to a guesthouse at Chunar in Mirzapur district after she squatted on the road with her supporters at Narainpur, insisting that she be allowed to proceed and meet the families of those killed on Wednesday.
"With todays brave action, she has shown that she can give effective leadership to the Congress party.
Thousands of Congress workers are happy that we have a strong leader to lead the party", Thomas said here.
His statement assumes significance in view of the growing chorus in the Congress, which is facing uncertainty after Rahul Gandhis resignation as party chief.
Former MP Abhijit Mukherjee, who is the son of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, had recently made an open plea in favour of Priyanka Gandhi, saying she should not ignore the "clarion call of lakhs of Congress workers" across the country to take over the party.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Anil Shastri had said Priyanka Gandhi is the best person to lead the party at this time and the AICC should elect her as the new Congress chief in the wake of Rahul Gandhis insistence on quitting the post.
The Sonbhadra shootout acquired a sharp political edge with Congress leaders, including former party president Rahul Gandhi, alleging Priyanka Gandhi was "illegally" arrested and the Uttar Pradesh government was attempting to crush democracy, while local police officials maintained she was just detained in Narainpur in the state's Mirzapur district.
Ten people were killed and 18 injured in the clash between supporters of the village head and Gond tribals over a piece of land in Sonbhadra's Ghorawal area on Wednesday.
Priyanka Gandhi landed in Varanasi and met the injured at the BHU Trauma Centre before making her way to Sonbhadra, about 80 km away.
The Congress general secretary UP (East) was stopped on the Varanasi-Mirzapur border.
She was taken to the Chunar guesthouse after she sat on a 'dharna'.