Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi returned to India on Thursday, a day after his absence at the farewell dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drew flak from the Opposition.
The Opposition had yesterday torn into the Gandhi party scion after it was reported that Rahul had gone overseas and chosen to skip the farewell dinner for the PM hosted by his mother and party chief Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence.
Although embarrassed Congress leaders had said that Rahul Gandhi was out of town, but they offered no reasons.
Rahul’s decision to skip the dinner party just days before the election verdict in which Congress is expected to face the worst-ever defeat, gave a chance to the Opposition to raise questions on the man, touted to be Congress’s future leader.
No matter how hard Congress leaders tried to shield the Congress vice president, saying Rahul had met the PM before going abroad and he trip was probably due to “some personal work”; the Opposition, however, did not buy the Congress leaders’ defence.
Taking a jibe at Rahul, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain had said that it was unfortunate that the Congress vice president could not take time out to attend the PM’s farewell dinner, especially when his mother was hosting the dinner at her place.
BJP MP Tarun Vijay drew parallels between Sonia Gandhi’s act of “insulting” Sitaram Kesri and Rahul’s decision to miss the farewell dinner for the PM and “insulting” him.
BJP leader Captain Abhimanyu said: “A PM for 10 years when relinquishing his office deserves a befitting farewell, Rahul Gandhi should have been there.”
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Ashutosh said Rahul’s absence was baffling.
Earlier too, Congress leaders threw a protective shield around Rahul Gandhi against the predicted rout in the elections and went on to say that he will remain their leader for the future.