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Thursday 30 January 2020

Singhvi defends ‘disappearance’ of Rahul before state polls

Lawyer and INC spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi sees the speculation that Rahul Gandhi is in Bangkok an encroachment on the party scion's privacy

Politics in the country has intensified with Congress scion Rahul Gandhi leaving for Bangkok at the crucial juncture when Maharashtra and Haryana elections are knocking at the door. The BJP has mocked Gandhi for his visit to Bangkok just before these Assembly elections while lawyer and spokesman of the Congress Abhishek Manu Singhvi has appealed to the people to not mix a politician’s private and public life.

Earlier, BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya asked whether people were wondering why “Bangkok” was trending on Twitter. Soon, the handle of BJP Karnataka, known for not mincing words while targeting political adversaries, recalled that Rahul Gandhi’s unique ability to make gold out of potatoes would be sorely missed.

This oft-cracked joke is about a speech by the then Congress president who was actually trying to make fun of the leadership of Narendra Modi by claiming that the BJP government takes the people for a ride. However, an edited part of the video that captured the speech went viral where the context is altogether missing.

But Gandhi indeed speaks of locally made products that he says his government would promote if some day he is brought to power. It becomes an object of derision because products don’t carry the name of cities or towns where they are made; it is only the country of manufacture of the good that earns the name.

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In the night of Saturday, news broke that Rahul Gandhi was leaving for Bangkok. The name of the city in Thailand started trending on Twitter.

Today again, Rahul Gandhi is among the top trends on Twitter.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has come to the defence of Gandhi, saying that private and public lives should not be mixed.

Singhvi tweeted, “The personal should not be mixed with the public life of an individual. We need to entitle everybody an eternal sense of liberty and privacy. After all, this is the basic and outlining principle of a progressive and liberal democracy.”

According to sources, Gandhi will return on 11 October. However, questions are being raised about his foreign visit just before the election.

Earlier in 2015, Gandhi had left for an undisclosed location for more than 50 days. The Congress did not confirm or deny his alleged location. Why many guess he goes to Bangkok, of all places, is too speculative to quote on a news platform.

But the problem with defence by Singhvi is that the defender is himself a controversial figure. A tape allegedly featuring Singhvi with a woman in a compromising position had gone viral in September 2012. He had categorically denied any wrongdoing.

In 2014, Singhvi was fined Rs 57 crore by the Income Tax Settlement Commission for failing to furnish documents supporting his claims of expenditure for running his office.

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