New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi appears to have extended his “leave of absence” with party functionaries saying that he was likely to return near the end of first half of budget session that concludes March 20.
A party leader, who did not want to be named, said Gandhi may not attend the first half of budget session due to his leave, adding: “He is likely to return around March 20.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said at the start of budget session Feb 23 that “Gandhi has gone on two weeks” leave, leading to speculation that he will return around March 10.
A party functionary said that some appointments of party chiefs in states could be made in the next few days and Gandhi will return after that. The party had said that Gandhi had requested for “some time to reflect on recent events and the future course for the party”.
Since the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections last year and its defeat in subsequent assembly polls, Gandhi has held wide interactions with party leaders.
There is speculation in the party that Gandhi could be made the party chief during the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session likely to be held in the middle of April. Congress sources said that direction that the party adopts at the upcoming session will be of crucial significance to the party.
Party leaders said Gandhi was unlikely to join an agitation by the party from Bhatta Parsaul to convey its opposition to the land acquisition bill. The Youth Congress is planning to launch a “Kisan Satyagrah” from Bhatta Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh which would culminate in Delhi on March 16. Party leader Abhiskeh Singhvi had said on Tuesday that Gandhi will be back in “proximate future” and was deeply involved in the decision-making process.