Rahul Gandhi, who was expected to be back in Delhi today, has extended his leave and will now return only by the end of this week.
Now, he will not be there to add to his party’s numbers when the Lok Sabha votes on the land acquisition bill this evening. Gandhi is one of the Congress’ meagre 44 lawmakers in the lower house, where the BJP-led NDA government has a big majority.
The timing of Rahul’s sabbatical had caused a controversy, as he left just as the crucial Budget Session of Parliament began. The Session has so far has been dominated by the Congress’s opposition to the government’s land reforms, an issue seen as close to Rahul, but others have had to lead the party on it in his absence.