Amid questions over Rahul Gandhi's ‘leave of absence', one Congress leader has gone a step ahead to defend his sabbatical by comparing the party vice president to the 9th century British king Alfred the Great.
Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma said Rahul's absence was like the medieval English king’s mysterious disappearance after defeat in battle, an absence from which he had emerged stronger.
“There are certain strategies, some secret plans that leaders always have. If you read stories, read history, Alfred the Great, after he lost the battle, he needed to plan, think and ideate and come up with another formula to defeat the enemy,” Sangma
“So every politician will have some strategy which cannot be shared with everybody. It is only an appropriate approach. How he wants to do it is his prerogative.”
Sangma dismissed speculation that the Congress did not know Rahul’s whereabouts.
“We know (where Rahul is). Who says we don’t know? But why should I tell you where? When we are required to share certain things, we will share. But certain things we will not share. Suppose I also have my own strategy which I don’t want to share with anybody, I will tell my friends please don’t tell anybody. It is a strategy,” he said.
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Legend says that at one point during these years, Alfred suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Viking armies and disappeared for some time.
He subsequently defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by the time of his death had become the dominant ruler in England.
Rahul took a leave of absence in late February, and is now said to be returning to work later this month. There is no word where he might be.
His vanishing act spawned a series of tongue-in-cheek comments about his choice of holiday spots and what he might be doing, and "missing" posters have been pasted on walls in his constituency.