Rahul Gandhi might have been away from the capital but that hasn’t stopped him from making the news. Questions were raised over his sabbatical when the Parliament was in session and, quite recently, according to the Congress, he was the target of “government snooping.”
When the Congress announced that Rahul would be abstaining from the Budget session, just after news reports said that he would take over as party president, there was a debate on who would have been an ideal successor to Sonia Gandhi. The Indian Express also threw their hat into the ring and gave their two pence on who should be made Congress president.
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Far away from the high-decibel swaras of the RaGa debate lays Rahul’s winter session attendance record in the Parliament that reads like an Australian bowler’s strike rate trajectory: 52% (2009), 17% (2010), 17% (2011), 25% (2012), 20% (2013) and 45% (2014). And, according to weathermen, the temperatures recorded on the coldest days in Delhi when Parliament was in session in winter were 5.2 (2009), 4 (2010), 2.9 (2011), 2.7 (2012), 2.4 (2013) and 4.2 (2014).
It appears that temperature, at a subconscious level, influences Rahul to decide whether to sit in the back benches or settle for a warm cup of tea, cosily tucked in his armchair in front of crackling fireplace. All that is figurative, but it does appear that he was in hibernation and prepping for the Budget session instead. His attendance nearly doubled in corresponding Budget session’s between the years 2009-2014: 77% (2009), 75% (2010), 30% (2011), 37% (2012), 66% (2013), 81% (2014), 0% (2015).
Another member of the Gandhi family and the current party president Sonia Gandhi also has abysmal attendance record in the Parliament winter session. Sonia’s attendance percentages read: 38% (2009), 26% (2010), 63% (2011), 45% (2012), 30% (2013) and 36% (2014). In comparison, before becoming the Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj had a 95% attendance record in the 2009 Parliament winter session.
It does appear that the Gandhi family has been blowing hot blowing cold over the idea of attending Parliament.
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Rahul’s attendance record in different seasons:
Monsoon: 2010 (42%), 2011 (27%), 2012 (42%), 2013 (48%).
Winter: 2009 (52%), 2010 (17%), 2011 (17%), 2012 (25%), 2013 (20%), 2014 (45%).
Budget: 2009 (75%), 2010 (30%), 2011 (37%), 2012 (66%), 2013 (81%), 2014 (0%).