Rahul Gandhi's poll time foreign visit kicks off row

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (PTI Photo)

Ahead of the elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi took off on a foreign visit, prompting the BJP to take a jibe at the absence of the “star campaigner”.

Rahul, who quit as Congress president after the party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, took off for Bangkok on Saturday morning amid reports that he was enroute to Cambodia on a “spiritual journey” and would return to campaign for the party in the upcoming elections.

“With elections to Maharashtra & Haryana around the corner, voters are eagerly waiting to watch and listen to their ‘star campaigner’. Congress, is it true that he has already left for Bangkok,” asked the Karnataka unit of the BJP on Twitter.

“Now who will talk about ‘sona from aloo in Ambala’ and ‘Mobiles made in Aurangabad',” the BJP asked.

Rahul, who has kept himself away from day-to-day party affairs, was named among the 40 star campaigners for the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections scheduled for October 21.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi advised the BJP against mixing personal and public life of an individual.

“The personal should not be mixed with public life of an individual. We need to entitle everybody an eternal sense of liberty and privacy,” Singhvi said.

“After all, this is the basic and outlining principle of a progressive and liberal democracy,” he said.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi slammed a “biased media” accusing it of “being awed by a photo-op in a Kedarnath cave” and taking “offence when a person goes privately on a spiritual journey”.

Gogoi also suggested that Rahul was away to practice vipassana, a mediation technique favoured by the former Congress president.

A year after the Lok Sabha election results in 2014, Rahul had taken a two-month sabbatical to practice vipassana in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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