A Reward for Finding 'Missing' Rahul Gandhi, Say Posters in Uttar Pradesh

Posters in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh taking swipes at union minister Uma Bharti and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi


Rahul Gandhi is missing, announce posters that have surfaced in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, taking digs at the Congress vice president's month-long sabbatical.

Posters in Mr Gandhi's own constituency are titled "Amethi Without a Leader", and use a Hindi film song to convey their message - "Jaane woh Kaunsa desh , Jahan tum chale Gaye (who knows where you have gone)."  The posters list problems in Amethi, including bad roads and poor health services, and offer a reward for any information on the Congress MP. They are signed off by anonymous "people of Amethi".

In Jhansi, BJP leader and union minister Uma Bharti has also been targeted along with Rahul Gandhi in posters put up by a local party. Both are accused of making false promises to develop the backward Bundelkhand region and never returning.

Posters screaming "Laapata (missing)" were recently put up in Bulandshahr and Allahabad by BJP workers. These announced a reward for any information on Rahul Gandhi.

Last month, some posters in Allahabad were sponsored by Congress workers who demanded that Rahul Gandhi's sister Priyanka Vadra be made party president since he is on leave.

Cheeky posters have in the past been directed at politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Hema Malini, who were also accused of neglecting their constituencies.

The Congress has spent much of this month defending Mr Gandhi against barbs about his absence. He is abroad, say senior party leaders, but they haven't specified where. The 44-year-old had asked for "leave of absence" to introspect, and has missed the first half of the budget session when his party campaigned against the government's land bill.

At least twice, Congress leaders shared his date of return only to say later that he has extended his "leave of absence." The party now says he will return by the end of March.

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