Personal life should not be mixed with politics, the Congress said on Monday while reacting to reports that its former president Rahul Gandhi chose to travel abroad in the middle of Assembly poll campaigns in Haryana and Maharashtra.
"In India's democratic tradition, there is a difference between personal and public life and personal liberty has always been respected," Congress national secretary Pranav Jha told reporters when asked about Gandhi going abroad.
"Those who have tried to create a controversy over the issue or those people and institutions who are misusing their powers to make public the personal visits of some leaders should respect personal liberty," Jha added.
Some Congress leaders believe that Rahul Gandhi is not happy with the sidelining of his appointees. Former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who quit the party Saturday, was always seen as a Rahul man. Tanwar had alleged that there was a conspiracy in the party to eliminate young leaders groomed by Rahul.
Sources close to Rahul, however, reject that. They say he will return next Wednesday and hit the campaign trail in both states. They say it is a three-four day trip and nothing more should be read into it. Reports that he was in Bangkok are not right, they said, but would not disclose where he is. Some party leaders believe he is in Cambodia on a meditation retreat.
"The personal should not be mixed with the public life of an individual," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Twitter while defending the former party president.