Congress Vice-President: Missing no more
The office of the Vice-President of Congress posted a picture of Rahul Gandhi to silence the noise about Gandhi's absence. The picture was of Gandhi attending a conference in Aspen. The picture was published on Twitter showing Rahul Gandhi's present a the 'New Media and International Affairs Conference' which was held in Colorado. Gandhi tweeted saying he had found the conference interesting.
Out for a 'conference' or a personal visit?
On 23 September 2015, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi left for the United States, triggering a fresh controversy over the purpose of his visit. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala clarified that "Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is travelling to Aspen" to attend a conference. Confusion was created when some leaders termed his visit as 'personal' to visit his ailing grandmother.
Is Rahul on another sabbatical?
Rahul's disappearing act raised suspicion with people wondering if this sojourn of his was like his previous 56 days sabbatical from 23 February- 16 April 2015.
BJP says Congress explanation a farce
BJP attacked Congress' claim that Gandhi had gone to attend the "Weekend with Charlie Rose" conference at the Aspen institute. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao claimed that the said conference "has always been held every year between June 25 and July 4"; hence, Rahul attending it was a farce. BJP further attacked Congress for its inability for furbishing "proper explanation" regarding Gandhi's visit.
Aspen conference ended in 1st week of July
BJP further established its claim by quoting Karen Peterson, Registrar and Conference Manager, Aspen Ideas Festival who confirmed that the conference had "got over in the first week of July this year".
Congress comes to Rahul's defense
While BJP leaders questioned the credibility of Rahul Gandhi's US visit, the Congress contended that Gandhi had indeed gone to attend the "Weekend with Charlie Rose" conference. Congress party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the BJP was trying to stir a controversy only to deflect attention from its own problems. He further said that BJP should focus on "poll tussle in Bihar" instead.
Twitterati hopes Gandhi will bring 'sabbatical revolution'
Between BJP attacking the opacity surrounding Gandhi's US visit and Congress defending it, Twitter was bombarded with people mocking Gandhi and calling him the face of 'sabbatical revolution". One tweet read "Rahul Gandhi is a global leader. He has gone to England to see how the poor live in the Buckingham Palace"; others said he had gone to get land for farmers in India.