Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah recently courted controversy after he was invited as a Chief Guest by the India-China Friendship Association (ICFA).
The invite comes at a time when China is increasing its hostilities at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Siddaramiah was invited to attend the event, where the primary topic of discussion was the alleged ‘Interference of US Imperialists in the Internal Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.’
A copy of the invite was shared on social media by journalist Rajgopal. Social media users were aghast at the idea of a former State CM, attending an event supporting the Chinese narrative of US imperialism.
Breaking: Former Karnataka CM and senior Congress leader @siddaramaiah to protest interference of ‘US imperilist’ in the internal affairs of China. Chinese ambassador to India will also be present on the occasion. pic.twitter.com/pOLUvkkb2Q— Rajgopal (@rajgopal88) August 27, 2022
“Congress and China are brothers,” wrote one user, while altering the infamous slogan of ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai.’
कांग्रेस चीनी बाई बाई— Chandu Borde💎 (@borde_chandu) August 27, 2022
“Basically, this is proof that KPCC (Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee) is funded by the Chinese,” another user claimed.
One user inquired, “Is it Indira Congress or China Congress?”
Is it Indira Congress or China Congress?https://t.co/9Y4XPfYkT1— Selvam 🚩 (@tisaiyan) August 27, 2022
Following social media outrage, the former Karnataka CM was forced to issue a clarification. He claimed that he had denied the invite but somehow was mysteriously invited, despite his disapproval.
“I had declined the invitation of the India-China Friendship Association to participate in their event which will be held tomorrow. It is surprising to see my name despite declining it. I declined to participate as my party’s & my position are against the agenda of the program,” he tweeted on Saturday (August 26).
I had declined the invitation of India-China Friendship Association to participate in their event which will be held tomorrow. It is surprising to see my name despite declining it.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 27, 2022
I declined to participate as my party’s & my position are against the agenda of the program. pic.twitter.com/TmsrazwBTD
Interestingly, Congress leaders have been regular invitees to the events conducted by India-China Friendship Association. As early as 2004, UPA-I Minister MV Rajasekharan participated in an event conducted to mark the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel.
The MoU between Congress and CCP
During UPA-I in 2008, the Congress party and the Communist Party of China (CPC) signed a deal in Beijing for exchanging high-level information and cooperation between them. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) also provided the two parties with the “opportunity to consult each other on important bilateral, regional and international developments”.
Interestingly, the MoU was signed by the then Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and on the Chinese side, it was signed by none other than Xi Jinping himself, who was then the Chinese vice-president and standing committee member of the CPC’s politburo. The MoU was signed in the presence of his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi.
Before the signing of the MoU, the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi had held a long meeting with Xi and other senior leaders of the Communist Party of China to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Later, it also became public knowledge that China had donated Rs 1 crore over three years to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation which had top Congress functionaries on its Board including Sonia Gandhi, Raul Gandhi and others.