With Congress president Sonia Gandhi avoiding public gatherings and Rahul Gandhi abroad on a personal visit, the Congress’s 136th foundation day celebrations at the party headquarters on Monday was a low-key event.
As BJP leaders took a dig at Rahul for missing the event, the Congress defended him.
The Congress also stepped up its attack on the BJP-led government over the continuing farmer agitation, with party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the party’s communication department head Randeep Surjewala asking the government to hold talks with farmer unions without preconditions. Priyanka said it was wrong on the part of the government to describe the agitation as a political conspiracy.
“(At the) Foundation day ceremony, the Congress president used to hoist the flag. Because of Corona, we advised madam Sonia Gandhi not to come today… Therefore, senior most leader A K Antony hoisted the flag. Whenever the party asked him for a programme… without any hesitation Rahul Gandhi has been attending all the programmes… Now he has gone for a personal visit… to see his grandmother…the BJP is making it a controversy… their intention is very clear… to target Rahul Gandhi… that has been their agenda… doesn’t someone have the right to go to see his grandmother? They are doing low-level politics…it is quite unfortunate,” AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal told reporters.
Surjewala echoed Venugopal. “If a family member is unwell…can’t a person go to meet? Rahul Gandhi is on a short personal visit to meet a family member who is seriously unwell… So he has gone to meet his family… should the BJP have any objection to that too?,” he said.
“The question is not who has gone where. The question is why the Prime Minister and his ministers are not worried about the lakhs of farmers… instead of abusing the opposition… why they are not concentrating their energies on running the country… why the Prime Minister and his ministers can’t travel 20 kilometres to meet and talk to the farmers… these are the questions,” he said.
Taking a dig at Rahul, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted that while the Congress is celebrating its 136th foundation day, Rahul Gandhi has gone missing.
Answering a question on international shooter Vartika Singh accusing Union minister Smriti Irani and two others of demanding money to make her a member of the central women’s commission, Surjewala said, “Had such an allegation surfaced during the UPA time, Irani would have sat on a dharna… why is she not resigning and facing an impartial inquiry?”