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‘I thought it’s all over’: Rahul Gandhi to go on pilgrimage after flight scare

The Congress chief said he thought of going to Kailash Mansarovar after a chartered aircraft in which he was flying, developed a snag while landing in Hubballi in Karnataka on Thursday.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2018 23:43 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Kailash Mansarovar,Pilgrimage
Congress President Rahul Gandhi at the Jan Aakrosh Rally in New Delhi on Sunday.(AFP Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced that he would take a 15-day break from politics immediately after the May 12 Karnataka elections to go on a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar .

Addressing a well-attended Jan Aakrosh rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, Gandhi narrated the incident of a technical snag in a chartered aircraft in which he was flying to poll-bound Karnataka from New Delhi.

The incident happened during landing of the flight at Hubballi in north Karnataka on Thursday.

“Two-three days ago when I was going to Karnataka, the plane nosedived 8,000 feet and I thought it’s all over. As I thought that, it struck me I want to go to Kailash Mansarovar,” he told the gathering of hundreds of Congress workers who responded with uninterrupted applause.

“And I need 10-15 days leave from you to go to Kailash Mansarovar after the Karnataka elections,” said Gandhi who had finished his speech but came back to seek “permission” from the workers.

Kailash is a mountain peak located near Manasarovar lake in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and is considered holy by the Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva. It also holds religious significance for Jains and Buddhists. The Kailash Mansarovar yatra, one of the toughest pilgrimages in the world, draws hundreds of pilgrims every year.

The Congress had said there was “intentional tampering” with the plane, and demanded a probe into the “suspicious performance” of the 10-seater Falcon 2000 aircraft. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has already initiated a probe into the incident.

Gandhi had often come under attack from his critics for his periodic leave of absence from active politics at critical times since he became the Congress vice-president in January 2013.

In March this year, Gandhi celebrated Holi with his aged grandmother in Italy. The visit coincided with the poll results in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 15:27 IST