Sonia Gandhi, Rahul skip Congress Foundation Day event

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul skip Congress Foundation Day event

While Sonia Gandhi has been avoiding attending public events, Rahul Gandhi has flown abroad on a personal visit

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Credit: PTI File Photo

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were missing from the 136th foundation day of the party on Monday, giving a handle to the BJP to take potshots and leaving a section of the party disappointed.

Congress cited “health reasons” for the party chief’s absence at the flag-hoisting function at the AICC headquarters next door to her official 10, Janpath residence, while Rahul, the de-facto president, had left for Milan on Sunday to meet his ailing grandmother.

The foundation day function was a truncated affair with only Congress Working Committee members being asked to be present citing the Covid-19 pandemic. Veteran leader A K Antony hoisted the party flag with Ghulam Nabi Azad and KC Venugopal by his side.

“For 136 years we have been celebrating the foundation day of the Congress, regardless if someone is present or absent,” Azad, who was part of the G-23 letter writers who had sought a more visible leadership in the party, told reporters at the AICC.

Also Read | What should the Congress do?

Speaking to the media, AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sought the repeal of the three farm laws and expressed solidarity with the farmers who have been protesting against the farm sector reforms for the past 33 days.

Several Congress leaders also joined MPs from Punjab, who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for the past three weeks, in solidarity with the agitating farmers.

“Rahul Gandhi is neither serious nor mature, he only pretends to be a well-wisher of the farmers. After a picnic in India, he has now gone to eat Italian pizza… and if we call him an immature boy of 51 years, people feel offended,” Gaurav Bhatia, BJP spokesman, said.

Congress slammed the BJP for the remarks and wondered whether it was a crime to visit an ailing grandmother.

“Rahul is not the Congress president. He carries out the tasks assigned to him by the party as a party worker. Can’t he visit his ailing member of his family,” AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said