Political row erupts over video of Rahul Gandhi at Nepal party
New Delhi: A political controversy erupted on Tuesday over a video of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a nightclub in Nepal with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders attacking him and the Congress dismissing the criticism saying it was a private trip to attend a friend’s wedding.
The tweet was posted by several BJP leaders on Tuesday morning, hours after the Congress’s official Twitter handle targeted Primer Minister Narendra Modi who is on a visit to Europe. BJP’s social media head Amit Malviya tweeted: “Rahul Gandhi was at a nightclub when Mumbai was under seize. He is at a nightclub at a time when his party is exploding. He is consistent.”
The Congress, which was hoping to target the government over the Life Insurance Corporation IPO and had issued a statement on it in the morning, quickly defended itself.
The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Gandhi was in Nepal to attend the wedding of a friend, a journalist, and asking whether it was a crime to attend a wedding.
“Last I checked, having a family in this country and having friends, attending marriage and engagement ceremonies is a matter of our culture and civilisation. It has still not become a crime in this country to be married, to be friends with someone or to attend their marriage celebration,” he said.
But Malviya also appeared to be targeting others. “Interestingly, soon after the Congress refused to outsource their presidency, hit jobs have begun on their Prime Ministerial candidate,” he added.
The Congress sought to equate Gandhi’s visit to Modi’s impromptu stopover in Pakistan in 2015.
“Rahul Gandhi has not gone to Pakistan as an uninvited guest like PM Modi did to cut a cake with Nawaz Sharif. We all know what happens in Pathankot soon after that meeting,” said Surjewala, referring to the terror attack at the Air Force base in Pathankot. “Rahul Gandhi has gone to a friendly country Nepal to participate in a private marriage function of a friend. By chance, the friend also happens to be a journalist.”
This is not the first time one of Gandhi’s personal trips abroad has stoked a political row. The Congress MP from Wayanad in Kerala has been at the receiving end of political criticism in the past over his private trips.
A Congress insider said that Gandhi strongly believes that public figures are entitled to private lives. “During a discussion last year, Gandhi told me that the BJP is critical even when he goes to meet his grandmother, but he can’t stop meeting her because of the BJP. I find his point is justified.”