Lambasting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over his visit to the US, Bharatiya Janata Party said it may be a “forced vacation” as allies JD(U) and RJD wanted him out of the Bihar poll campaign. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also slammed the Congress, saying that the party was now looking for a “face-saver” which was reflected from the “dichotomy” in its statements.
“Rahul needed a foreign vacation after holding two rallies and thinking hard about farmers. It appears that the feedback the leaders of grand alliance got from Bihar made them call Congress to send him on a forced vacation because his stay anywhere near Bihar is going to harm their electoral chances,” Patra told reporters.
He also said that two leading alliance leaders, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, had “shown Rahul Gandhi his place” by staying away from his Bihar rally. They had also made Congress chief Sonia Gandhi speak before them at another rally, he said.
Earlier, Congress said that Rahul Gandhi has left for the US to attend a conference. Party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is travelling to Aspen, US on a short visit to attend a conference. The conference is expected to be attended by global leaders from various domains, both from government and private sectors. We reject all rumours stating otherwise, he added. The party, however, did not give dates about the conference or the duration of the visit.
Earlier in the day, Surjewala, when asked about Rahul at AICC briefing, said, “Rahul ji is travelling abroad on a short personal visit and will return shortly. We reject all rumours stating otherwise. He will continue to lead the party’s Bihar campaign as also in the rest of the country.”
Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be in the USA from Thursday morning on a six-day visit.