Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi`s act of skipping the farewell dinner hosted by his mother and party chief Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday has left the ruling party in an awkward spot.
Rahul Gandhi`s decision to skip the event, which came two days before the election verdict in which Congress is expected to face the worst-ever defeat, gave a chance to the Opposition to raise questions on the man, touted to be Congress`s future leader.
Although embarrassed Congress leaders said Rahul was out of town, but they offered no reasons.
On Thursday, Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi tried to shield the Congress vice president, saying Rahul met the PM before going abroad and there is no question of an insult. Another Congress leader Meem Afzal said Rahul Gandhi was outside Delhi, probably due to “some personal work”.
However, the Opposition did not buy the Congress leaders` defence.
Taking a jibe at Rahul, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said it was unfortunate that the Congress vice president could not take time out to attend the PM`s farewell dinner, especially when his mother was hosting the dinner at her place.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, meanwhile, courted controversy when he described Rahul Gandhi as a foreigner, who comes to India for a holiday. “When he is done, he goes back to his foreign home,” Raut told a news agency.
BJP MP Tarun Vijay, meanwhile, drew parallels between Sonia Gandhi`s act of "insulting" Sitaram Kesri and Rahul`s decision to miss the farewell dinner for the PM and "insulting" him.
In the meantime, BJP leader Captain Abhimanyu said: “A PM for 10 years when relinquishing his office deserves a befitting farewell, Rahul Gandhi should have been there.”
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Ashutosh said Rahul`s absence “baffles me”. He should have grown into a mature person by now, added Ashutosh.
Taunting Rahul, Raut said it was likely that the Congress VP has gone abroad to hide his disappointment over the defeat his party would face once the poll results are out.
Earlier too, Congress leaders threw a protective shield around Rahul Gandhi against the predicted rout in the elections and went on to say that he will remain their leader for the future.