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Rahul Gandhi goes to Nepal, BJP tongues start wagging

The Congress leader had reached Nepal on Monday to attend the wedding of his friend and journalist Sumnima Udas
Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi.
File photo

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 04.05.22, 03:11 AM

A video showing Rahul Gandhi in a Kathmandu club was lapped up by the BJP to question his commitment to public life, but the Congress hit back saying it was not yet a crime in India to have friends or attend weddings.

The Congress leader had reached Nepal on Monday to attend the wedding of his friend and journalist Sumnima Udas, the Kathmandu Post reported on Tuesday.


Sumnima is the daughter of Nepal’s former ambassador to Myanmar Bhim Udas, who was quoted by the paper as saying: “We had extended an invitation to Gandhi to

attend the wedding of my daughter.”

A brief clip that showed Rahul talking to a woman in a club amidst loud music was posted on Twitter by BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya with this comment: “Rahul Gandhi was at a nightclub when Mumbai was under seize (siege). He is at a nightclub at a time when his party is exploding. He is consistent. Interestingly, soon after the Congress refused to outsource their presidency, hit jobs have begun on their Prime Ministerial candidate…”

The BJP ecosystem grabbed the information to buttress its charge that Rahul was a non-serious politician who is more interested in the pleasures of life.

Law minister Keren Rijiju tweeted: “Regular Parties, Vacations, Holidays, Pleasure Trips, Private Foreign Visits etc are nothing new to the nation now. As a private citizen there's no issue at all but when an MP, a permanent boss of a national political party who keeps preaching others...”

Many other BJP leaders joined the chorus, some with nastier insinuations.

The Congress was dismissive, asserting that Rahul was in Nepal for a friend's wedding and that the visit was not a secret.

Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said: “Rahul Gandhi has not gone as an uninvited guest, like Prime Minister Modi went to Pakistan to celebrate the birthday of the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Rahul Gandhi has gone to a friendly country, Nepal, to participate in a private marriage function of a friend.”

Surjewala sarcastically added: “Last when I checked, having friends, attending marriage and engagement ceremonies is not unlawful. It is a matter of our culture and civilisation. It has still not become a crime in this country to be married, to be friends with someone or to attend their marriage celebration. Maybe after today, Prime Minister Modi may decide and the BJP may decide that it is illegal to attend a marriage function. They may say it is a crime to have friends or participate in family functions.”

He wondered why the BJP leaders don’t speak on substantive issues instead.

“When a young man commits suicide because recruitment for Army is not happening, they all fall silent. Look at the abnormally high unemployment rate, prices of essential commodities, electricity crisis… People are unable to drink lemon water in this scorching summer. What happened to the promise of two crore jobs every year?” the Congress leader asked.

Another Congress office-bearer, Manickam Tagore, blasted the BJP for diverting public attention. Attending a friend’s wedding was no crime, he repeated.

Tagore said Rahul was available for any programme decided by the party and that he would tour Telangana later this week.

Many younger Congress leaders asked if the BJP wants a ban on the private and social life of politicians, pointing out that the BJP presented a normal visit as an expose.

The Kathmandu Post had reported that Rahul arrived with three others on a Vistara Airlines flight at 4:40pm.

“He was accompanied at Kathmandu airport by three others. Gandhi and his friends are staying at Kathmandu Marriott Hotel in Naxal, the sources added. Gandhi is in Kathmandu to attend the wedding of his Nepali friend Sumnima Udas,” the paper said.

Sumnina was earlier a correspondent with CNN International and was posted in New Delhi briefly, but is now back in Nepal.

She is getting married to Nima Martin Sherpa. After the wedding on Tuesday, a reception will be held on May 5.

at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bauddha, the paper reported.Some other Indian VVIPs have also arrived for the wedding.

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