NEW DELHI: The BJP on Thursday asked: “where is Rahul Gandhi?” The Congress vice-president’s whereabouts got curiouser and curiouser, after The American Bazaar, a web-portal, ran a report claiming Rahul “is not listed for any global meet or the Weekend with Charlie Rose conference in Aspen, Colorado, US” and the claim to that effect was not true.
The report even quoted Karen Peterson, Registrar and Conference Manager, Aspen Ideas Festival, as stating that the annual conference had taken place between June 25-July 4, the theme of which was ‘Smart Solutions to the World’s Toughest Challenges.’
Petersen reportedly told the portal that he did not see Rahul listed as a speaker in any Aspen related event. The BJP, which initially raised the Congress hackles by insinuating that Rahul has again taken off for a vacation and this time “forced” by his allies in Bihar, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, who did not want him around during the poll campaign, immediately lapped up the story to accuse the party of falsifying his whereabouts.
“For the last three days, the Congress is misleading the country.... the Congress has claimed that he is travelling to Aspen in the US to attend a conference known as ‘Weekend with Charlie Rose’. But we have got to know that the said conference was over in July,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.
But, the Congress reiterated that Rahul has gone to Aspen, US to attend a Rose conference, scheduled this weekend. Making a second statement on Thursday, Congress media chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP was “spreading canards.” He had first called it a “private visit.”
Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka too travelled out Thursday night, most likely for the former’s medical check-up. When in the US, Rahul usually spends time with his father’s old friend Sam Pitroda. Sources claimed Pitroda had lined up the Rose interaction in Aspen for Rahul. By evening, the Congress issued a clarification that Rahul was “in Aspen town in Colorado where a weekend with Charlie Rose is being organised. Not to be confused with Aspen Institute in Washington DC.”
Sonia, priyanka too fly abroad
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Vadra too travelled out on Thursday night, most likely for the former’s medical check-up. As for Rahul Gandhi, the party clarified that its Vice President was in Aspen town for a conference where US Senator John McCain is also scheduled to speak.