Absent for long, Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President, will re-appear on national political scene effective from April 15, after going on a 2-month sabbatical with prior permission from his mother.
The Congress party said he would be leading a Kisan (farmer) rally against the Land Acquisition Bill on April 16 and perhaps 19 sharing the dais with his mother and sister.
Here’s a recap of What Rahul Gandhi missed when he was away for 2 months and what he may face next:
When his sabbatical was announced by party spokesman, there was a speculation that he would be going on a trip to meet his Latin American girl friend or may return after marriage with her. But instead of 2 weeks, it turned out to be 2 months of “Leave of Absence”. But this scenario remained too sketchy as he is believed to be very much in the sub-continent.
Secondly, he missed the Budget presentation by Arun Jaitley and thankfully, Jaitley had no major rumblings, leave alone murmuring during his presentation. But BJP never let a chance unused to tinker the Congress about their leader’s absence.
At its 2-day meeting of the National Executive in Bangalore on April 2, party president Amit Shah took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi asking the Congress to “find” its leader and stop finding “non-existent” faults in BJP government. It raised eyebrows of the media that Amit Shah, being in Bangalore, could be hinting at Rahul Gandhi’s hideout in Karnataka, a Congress-ruled state.
In another incident the same day, BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain wondered if Rahul Gandhi was really set to return and attend the April 19 rally. “We do not know if reports about the date are true…Is his vacation finally over,” asked Hussain. In response, Sonia Gandhi, touring Bhopal, asserted that Rahul Gandhi would come back soon.
“He will come back soon and will be among people,” she said to questions on her son’s return after her visit to Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh. Few days later, Sonia Gandhi again asserted that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi would be seen “soon”.
When BJP put up posters in Amethi asking for their MP Rahul Gandhi’s whereabouts, Sonia Gandhi rushed to her and Rahul Gandhi’s constituencies to reiterate that the family does have concerns for the people of Rae Bareli and Amethi. “It’s a duty of our family to be in touch with people of Rae Bareli and Amethi,” she said.
In response to her assurance, BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain wryly said: “Are you serious?” , apparently borrowing a phrase used with disastrous results by her son-in-law Robert Vadra in an angry exchange with a reporter recently.
Now that Rahul Gandhi will make his appearance on Wednesday, April 15, the party is busy arranging some farmer rallies as it could mean a revival of political life for the Congress and BJP too, which is missing Rahul Gandhi more than its own leaders.