New Delhi: As several questions have been raised over Rahul Gandhi’s Cambodia trip just ahead of the elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the Congress has issued a statement saying the public and personal life of an individual should not be mixed. The elections are scheduled to be held on October 21. Rahul Gandhi went on a foreign trip on Saturday. On his return, he will campaign for the state elections, from October 11, the Congress said.

Taking a swipe at the BJP for questioning the timing of Rahul Gandhi’s Cambodia visit, Congress national secretary Pranav Jha said personal liberty has always been respected in India’s democratic tradition and the personal should not be mixed with the public life of an individual.

“In India’s democratic tradition, there is a difference between personal and public life and personal liberty has always been respected,” Jha said. “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.

However, questions have been raised inside the party as well. The absence of Rahul Gandhi has made two things clear: One, he will not be the face of the two state Assembly elections. Two, Rahul Gandhi took the responsibility of the decimation that the party faced in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Unlike the state elections of 2018 where Rahul Gandhi was at the forefront, he will not be accountable for the results of these state elections.

There are also speculations whether this brief absence is aimed at preparing the ground for something big — for Rahul Gandhi’s return at the helm.