Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will leave India on Thursday to be with his mother Sonia Gandhi who is undergoing medical treatment abroad, the party announced, amid growing clamour for a leadership shake-up following a string of electoral reverses.
Congress VP Shri Rahul Gandhi, shall travel there today to be with her and accompany Congress President on the return journey. 2/2— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 16, 2017
Party chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Rahul will be accompanying Sonia on the return leg.
Owing to her ill health, Sonia had not campaigned in the recently concluded five-state assembly elections. She also gave the counting day, March 11, a miss with party sources saying she left Delhi for a “routine medical check-up” and would return only after Holi.
Though they did not let in on where Gandhi has gone for the check-up, there was speculation that she was in the US where she had undergone treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
Rahul’s trip comes amid growing criticism both inside and outside party of his handling of the elections, where the Congress was crushed in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and couldn’t form its government in Goa and Manipur despite emerging as the single-largest party. The Congress’ victory in Punjab was mostly credited to chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh.
Many party members in Manipur and Goa have blamed the Congress leadership of inaction and ceding advantage to the BJP, which cobbled together a coalition government in both states. Rahul has promised an organisational overhaul and introspection over the results.