Rahul sabbatical: Timing could have been better, says Digvijay

New Delhi, Feb 24: After Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi went on a sabbatical "for a few weeks" following the party's whitewash in the Delhi Assembly elections, senior congressman Digvijaya Singh has tweeted to it saying that the timing of his break could have been better.

Singh has said that while there is nothing wrong in taking a break to reflect upon things and that there is no reason to criticise the decision, the timing of his leave could have been better.

File photo

Rahul has been "granted leave of absence for a few weeks after which he will return and resume his active participation in the affairs of the Congress party", party sources said.

They said he has "requested Congress President Sonia Gandhi for some time to reflect on recent events and future course of the party".

There was no official word on what Rahul plans to do or where he was at the moment as speculation raged whether it could be a precursor to his keeping away from politics.

A member of the Lok Sabha from Amethi, he gave a miss to Parliament which commenced its budget session today with the President's address to a joint sitting of both the Houses.

Asked about the sabbatical given to Rahul, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said he has been "given a few weeks. He needs some time."

"Well, the reason is what you have been told," she said in reply to a question whether he has been given time to reflect on recent events and future course of the party as has been told to the media.

While the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena took jibes at Rahul and Congress revelling in the party's discomfiture, Congress leaders expressed the hope that a break would do him good and that they would continue to look for guidance from Sonia and Rahul.

Party sources said Rahul believes that the direction that the party adopts at the upcoming AICC session will be of crucial importance for its future and he wishes to prepare for it.

Congress had had a disastrous year starting with the rout in the Lok Sabha elections last May which continued in the Assembly elections in various states including Delhi recently.

The debacle in Delhi, where Congress failed to get even one seat in the 70-member House, was all the more humiliating as the party had ruled the state for 15 years till December 2013.

The AICC session is expected in early April and media reports have suggested that Rahul could be made the party chief on that occasion.

Reacting to the development, Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said, "If somebody wants to go on leave, he can go. But the people of the country have sent Congress on a long leave. This is definite."

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said it shows his seriousness at a time the budget session of Parliament was beginning and raises questions over his political inclination.

Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut took a dig at Rahul, saying at a time when the issue of land acquisition has come to the fore in Parliament, he has gone to retrieve the "lost land" of the Congress party.


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