Addressing a rally in Bhubneshwar, Congress President Rahul Gandhi accidentally blew the lid on himself when he said that he had met some Chinese officials during his visit to Kailash Mansarovar in September last year. Attacking the Modi government during the rally on job creation, Gandhi said, “When I went to Kailash, I met a couple of their (Chinese) ministers. They told me they have plenty of jobs. Job is not a problem there. Automation is a problem in Europe and India but it is not a problem in China. Why automation is not creating a problem for China.”
The statement was soon picked up by the BJP which accused Gandhi of using the pilgrimage for holding secret talks with the Chinese ministers. “We want to know from the Congress what transpired between Rahul Gandhi and the Chinese ministers. Why the protocol (of informing the Ministry of External Affairs) was not followed for the meeting?”, questioned BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra in a press conference.
Patra revealed that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had received a letter from a Chinese Ambassador who wanted to give Rahul Gandhi a ceremonial see off when he visited Kailash Mansarovar. “When Rahul Gandhi went for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a letter was sent by the Chinese ambassador to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) that he wanted to give him a ceremonial see him off. This protocol is limited to the heads of the state or the Leader of Opposition,” said Patra.
Alleging a tacit understanding between Rahul Gandhi and China, Patra said, “Now it is clear why China wanted to extend this protocol to Rahul Gandhi. Yatra was just an excuse, he had to meet Chinese ministers and discuss something. The cat is out of the bag today. He had to go to Beijing…The BJP had back then asked Rahul Gandhi to clarify which Chinese minister he was planning to meet in Beijing. The Congress had then said that Rahul Gandhi would not meet any Chinese minister as it was a personal religious tour.”
The BJP spokesperson raised questions on the Congress President for not informing the MEA about his meeting. “Why did not he inform this to the Ministry of External Affairs? Why was the Indian embassy kept out of the loop? What he had to discreetly discuss with the Chinese ministers that Rahul Gandhi did not keep the MEA in loop”.