With New Year just around the corner and a few months to Assembly polls in five states, former Congress president and MP Rahul Gandhi has flown abroad on Wednesday morning on “a personal visit”.
Recently ahead of the winter session of Parliament, he had travelled abroad for almost a month and had returned a day before the commencement of the session.
“Rahul Gandhi is on a brief personal visit. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its media friends should not spread rumours unnecessarily,” Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala told ANI.
Although, the party has not disclosed the place of visit and the date of his return.
Mr Rahul’s visit abroad comes at a time when political parties are pacing up their campaigning for the upcoming polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, which are due next year.
Mr Rahul was scheduled to address a party rally in Moga district of Punjab on January 3 to kick start campaigning in the state, where the party is already in power. However, now it is likely to be postponed.
With a delay in campaigning, it could seemingly impact the party’s vote bank in the state and bring down chances of the party retaining power.
It is pertinent to mention that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also planning to campaign in the state around the same time.
BJP will begin the poll campaign in Punjab with Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to hold a rally on January 5 in the state, according to party sources. This will be the first rally of Prime Minister Modi in Punjab after the repeal of three farm laws. BJP has earlier announced that the party will fight polls in the state in alliance with Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress Party.
According to sources in Congress, the rally in Punjab will not begin till Mr Rahul’s return to the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Rahul had recently campaigned for the party in Goa and Uttarakhand.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117 member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.