New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the face of the party, addressed only five rallies in Jharkhand that recently went to elections. He was rarely seen at the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that have rocked the country. The Wayanad MP was also not present in Parliament during the first week of the Winter Session that ended on 25 November.
Rahul Gandhi, who stepped down as the Congress president earlier this year after his party lost the Lok Sabha elections, has often remained absent from the country’s political scene that rarely sees a dull day these days.
In the last four years since 2015, according to the Modi government, Rahul has travelled abroad at least 247 times — an average 62 trips in a year, which amounts to five a month.
The data was provided by Home Minister Amit Shah last month, when he was discussing the Special Protection Group (SPG) Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Shah had said the data was based on the number of times Rahul had travelled without informing the SPG. This, according to the home minister, was a violation of SPG norms.
Shah added that since 2015, Rahul has travelled 1,892 times in India and 247 times abroad without informing the SPG.
Shah, however, made no mention of the number of times that the former Congress president travelled, both within the country and abroad, after informing the SPG.
The home minister also said other members of the Gandhi family, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also flouted SPG norms.
“Sonia Gandhiji has travelled more than 50 times without giving prior information since 2015. Of these, 24 were foreign visits,” Shah said.
For Priyanka, Shah said she had taken 99 foreign trips since 1991, of which she did not seek SPG cover on 78 such tours.
Flak for Rahul over foreign trips
Rahul has repeatedly come under fire for his foreign trips.
When the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act picked up across the country, the opposition leader was missing as he was in South Korea for an event. The South Korea sojourn also meant that he missed the last leg of the Jharkhand election campaign, leaving his sister Priyanka Gandhi to fill in at a rally in Pakur.
His trips have also hurt the party. In October, as the Congress prepared to launch a massive agitation against the Modi government on the state of the economy, the former party chief wasn’t in the country.
He only returned a couple of weeks later to campaign in Haryana and Maharashtra leaving yet again once the electioneering came to an end.