Rahul Gandhi’s trip to Cambodia ahead of Assembly polls raises eyebrows in Congress

Since the return of Sonia Gandhi as the party’s interim president on August 10, several younger leaders have come out in the public against the party’s veterans

Days ahead of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls on October 21, the timing of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s four-day trip to Cambodia to attend a meditation camp has come under intense scrutiny.

Questions are being asked if it was a way to express his displeasure at the recent developments in the Congress after some of the leaders, who were close to Mr. Gandhi, have either left the party or accused party seniors of ‘unfairly’ treating him.

Sources close to Mr. Gandhi claimed that he would be campaigning in the Assembly polls and the party too has listed him as a star campaigner.

But what is clear is that the unlike Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017 and Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls last year, Mr. Gandhi will not be the face of his party’s campaign.

There are two interpretations that are doing the round in political circles: one, with Congress expected to lose both the States, Mr. Gandhi doesn’t want to be blamed for his party’s failure; two, he wants the party’s old guard or the seniors to be held accountable for the losses and step down owing up responsibility.

“In the last few years, numerous conspiracies are being hatched to eliminate all those young leaders who have been groomed by Shri Rahul Gandhi in the last one and half decade. Unfortunately, most victims of this conspiracy may not have the courage to stand up, but I think it is my moral duty to resist, oppose and expose this onslaught,”former chief of the Congress in Haryana, Ashok Tanwar, said in a letter to Sonia Gandhi after resigning as a primary member of the party.

Similar charges were levelled by the former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, former Jharkhand Congress chief Ajay Kumar who joined the Aam Admi Party (AAP), former Tripura Congress chief Pradyot Dev Burman who stepped down from his party post and crickter-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu who resigned as a minister after a tiff with the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The party, however, had played down the differences and asked leaders not to ‘kite fly conspiracy theories”.

“The leaders are advised to exercise restraint as it serves nobody’s purpose,”senior party leaders Manish Tewari had said on Friday.

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