Congress leaders non-committal on Rahul’s return from leave

New Delhi (IANS): Over two weeks after the Congress said its vice president Rahul Gandhi was on leave of absence to reflect on the future of the party, there appears no certainty about the date of his return with party leaders not willing to commit on the issue.

Party functionaries IANS spoke to gave no firm indication whether Gandhi will return from his leave to attend the first half of the budget session of parliament which concludes on March 20.

A party functionary, who did not want to be named, said Gandhi may come back from his leave “after two-three days”.

He said a session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) was expected to take place in the middle of April but its dates have not been finalised as yet.

“That date can be given once he (Gandhi) comes back,” the functionary told IANS.

He said there were demands that Gandhi should be made party chief at the session.

“There is a feeling that Gandhi should get more free hand to implement his ideas about the party,” he said.

Another party leader said Gandhi may not come back from leave before the first half of budget session.

Party leaders said Gandhi was unlikely to join an agitation by the party from Bhatta Parsaul to convey its opposition to the land acquisition bill.

The Youth Congress is planning to launch a “Kisan Satyagrah” from Bhatta Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh which would culminate in Delhi on March 16.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said last month at the start of the budget session that Gandhi had requested for “some time to reflect on recent events and the future course for the party”.

“This introspection is important for the party in view of the forthcoming All India Congress Committee session,” Singhvi had said.

Since the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections last year and its defeat in subsequent assembly polls, Gandhi has held wide interactions with party leaders.