Amid claims by a Congress trade union leader that Rahul Gandhi is in Uttarakhand, the state unit of the party on Wednesday denied having any information about the whereabouts of the Congress vice-president.
Gandhi has taken a sabbatical "for a few weeks" following a string of electoral losses, fuelling speculation about his future plan as well of a long-awaited change in the party to revive its fortunes.
Jagdish Sharma, the national vice-president of Indian National Trade Union Congress, had posted a few photographs on Twitter amid a debate on the timing of his leave with the budget session of Parliament underway.
Sharma told CNN-IBN, "He needed time and is introspecting the future course of the party."
"He will be made the party chief in the session that will be held in Bengaluru. If some people have objections to it, they will have to leave the party," the news channel quoted Sharma as saying.
Congress state chief coordinator Jot Singh Bisht refuted Sharma's claims and said the party vice-president is not in the state.
"We have no official or unofficial information about (Rahul's) stay in Uttarkashi or any other part of the state. Our party cadre in Uttarkashi has also found no concrete information on Rahul's stay," Bisht told HT.
Rahul's office said the photos Sharma made public were clicked during the Congress heir-apparent's 2008 visit to the hill state of Uttarakhand, according to CNN-IBN.
He had visited Uttarkashi in 2008 and camped at Har Ki Doon area, a magnificent meadows in the lap of an oak forest. According to sources, Congress leader Satish Sharma, who is said to be close to the Gandhi family, owns a cottage in the vicinity.
The Uttarkashi district administration also said they are keeping an eye on the development.
"Usually the district administration is informed about VIP movements. It is unlikely that Rahul Gandhi is camping in the district. We do not want to take a chance and therefore keeping an eye," district magistrate Indudhar Baurai told HT over phone.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the photographs.