The 44-year-old leader arrived here at 11.15 AM on a Thai Airways plane from Bangkok, ending days of intense speculation over his return and amidst celebrations by party workers who burst crackers outside his residence.
    
Wearing a grey T-shirt and seated in the back seat of his vehicle, Rahul arrived escorted by his security personnel and drove straight into the house without interacting with the waiting mediapersons.

Read more: Congress tells leaders to not make 'open comments' on leadership issue


The return of Rahul comes ahead of the party's planned farmers' rally here on the contentious Land Bill issue which he is likely to address.
    
Drives straight to 12, Tughlaq road

The plane, which was scheduled to land at 10.35 AM, was delayed by 40 minutes, sources said. Shortly later, Rahul drove to his 12, Tughlaq Lane residence where his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka were waiting.
    
Went on sabbatical on February 23

Rahul had left quietly before the Budget session began on February 23 but it is still not known where he had spent the days.


    
The party had then said that he "requested Congress President Sonia Gandhi for some time to reflect on recent events and future course of the party".
    
Ever since the announcement of his temporary break from political life, there has been speculation that he was unhappy with not getting a free hand to run the party, a contention which the party has officially denied.
    
Likely to be elevated as Congress president

Rahul's leave had come amid talk of an AICC session, where he was expected to be elevated as Congress President.

 

Read more: Congress maintains suspense over Rahul's return


During his absence, several party leaders including former chief ministers Amarinder Singh and Sheila Dikshit came out in the open pitching for Sonia Gandhi to continue as president and raised questions over his leadership.
    
To address farmers' rally on April 19

Congress leaders had announced that Rahul would be back by April 19 as he would be addressing a farmers' rally on land bill issue at the Ramlila maidan here on that day.


    
The rally is being held on the eve of the second phase of the Budget session of Parliament. Rahul had skipped the first phase which saw the Congress taking on the government over the land bill issue.
    
Congress has been performing badly at the hustings, starting with the Lok Sabha elections last year. It was followed by a string of defeats in Assembly elections including in Delhi recently.
    
Sources also said that plans are underway to organise an interaction of Rahul Gandhi with a delegation of farmers on April 17, two days before he will address the Kisan-Khet Mazdoor rally of the party.
    
BJP takes potshots

The BJP, meanwhile, took potshots at the Congress Vice President, saying he "ran away" as he had lost all confidence.
    
"From Nehru to Rahul, it is the withering away of the dynasty," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

After spending two hours at his residence, the Congress Vice President came to 10 Janpath, the official residence of Sonia Gandhi.

 

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