New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has left for London on a private visit.
Unlike his trips in the recent past, Rahul has refrained from tweeting his year-end travel plans this time.
According to sources, Rahul left for London on Wednesday and is likely to ring in the New Year abroad. His trip, a source indicated on Friday, may last a week at least.
Rahul’s latest trip comes after an intense period which saw him accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of personal corruption, and happens to coincide with political turmoil in UP due to infighting within the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Modi government’s demonetisation.
On December 28 last year, before travelling abroad for New Year celebrations, the Gandhi scion had tweeted via his official handle @OfficeofRG: “I will be travelling to Europe for a few days. A very Happy New Year to everyone.”
Thereafter, he tweeted again on June 20, 2016 before leaving Indian shores, saying: “Travelling out of the country for a few days on a short visit…”.
The prior intimation of his foreign trips on social media followed the controversy that broke out after his two visits abroad last year. While his trip to South Asian nations lasting two months, which led to his absence from the first leg of the 2015 Budget session of Parliament, invited much criticism and ridicule from political opponents, his trip to Aspen in September 2015 to attend a conference fell into controversy as it was timed in the midst of Bihar assembly poll campaign. He had then sought to clear the air by tweeting pictures of him attending the Aspen conference.
Rahul has, several times in the past, rung in the New Year as well as his birthday abroad. This time, however, given that the Congress vice-president has taken the lead in bringing various Opposition parties on a common platform to slam the Modi regime’s demonetisation move and also created a buzz by throwing a “personal corruption” charge at the Prime Minister, it remains to be seen how the BJP will react to his suddenly leaving the country for a private visit.
Congress, on the other hand, is expected to shield Rahul yet again, saying that he is entitled, just like any other citizen, to a vacation.