Days ago, Indian Express reported in ‘Delhi Confidential’ that Opposition parties, particularly the RJD, were not happy about Rahul Gandhi skipping the mega opposition Rally in Patna, which was touted to be the show of Opposition unity in the run up to 2019 elections. Undoubtedly, Rahul’s decision to skip the rally surprised many, but the reason for it – a trip to Norway – came as a bigger surprise. Now in less than two weeks, another news is out – PTI has reported that the Congress vice-president is all set to explore his knowledge of Artificial Intelligence in Silicon Valley – at a time when the party needs his presence for Gujarat Assembly elections.
Rahul’s love for foreign trips is not unknown. The Congress vice-president’s mysterious 56-day sabbatical from work had created controversy in 2015. Since then, Rahul tends to inform everyone about his schedule, even when it is not politically correct. Rahul most surprising announcements of vacations have come at times when he is most needed by the Congress.
One of his sudden foreign visits came in December last when Congress campaign for UP assembly elections was in full swing and the party had heavily invested in Rahul-specific events – Khaat Sabhas and anti-demonetization rallies. No doubts, his trip was ill-timed. Once gain Rahul headed to Italy in June, when Madhya Pradesh agrarian crisis protests were in full swing, leaving party’s rank and file embarrassed.
“…To take care of the well-being of elders is part of our culture,” Surjewala, scrambling to defend Gandhi, told mediapersons in Delhi. While one may well argue that politicians need time to spend with their families, it remains a fact that supreme leaders of parties need to set their itinerary giving priority to public service first. Rahul’s surprise trips send out a virtual message that he prioritises personal life above his duties for the party.
In contrast, Rahul’s competition, Narendra Modi, has been successful in sending the message that he spends all his time, and has sacrificed all that he had, to work for the people. The mentions of four hours of sleep, working on Sundays, and even celebrating festivals with soldiers on borders boost the morale of BJP workers. On the other hand, Rahul’s surprise visits come as setbacks for the diminishing cadre of grand old party