Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a big admission while speaking at an event in Odisha's capital Bhubaneswar, revealing that he had met with Chinese ministers while undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in September 2018.
On his first visit to the poll-bound state since taking over as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi made to launch attack upon attack at the Modi government, from issues ranging from Rafale to job creation. He reiterated his allegations regarding the Rafale deal, and also accused the government of allowing big-ticket fraudsters like Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi to abscond with sums of money equivalent to the entire expenditure on public schemes like MGNREGS. However, he declined to say a word about corruption allegations that have come to light in a notice that has been sent to Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik and his son.
Further, attacking the government on economic issues like job creation, the Congress president once again raised China, contrasting its job creation with India's own. In doing so, however, he inadvertently admitted that he secretly met two Chinese ministers while on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:
"Automation bothers India, Europe but it does not seem to bother China, when I met two Chinese ministers during my Kasilash Mansarovar yatra they told job creation not a problem in China that they have plenty of jobs," he said while speaking at 'The Odisha Dialogue Event'.
During his visit to the holy place, Rahul Gandhi constantly tweeted about his visit using religious context and chants.
Rahul Gandhi's Kailash Mansarovar Yatra was beset by controversy since the get-go. While he was departing from New Delhi, the Chinese ambassador in India had sought to give him a ceremonial send-off, despite the Congress president not holding any significant government post. Republic TV had accessed the letter issued by the Chinese embassy to India's Ministry of External Affairs seeking the required permissions to see off Rahul Gandhi -
The letter reads:
"The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in India presents compliments to the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of the Republic of India and has the honor to inform the latter that Mr. ZHOU Yuyun, Counsellor of Embassy of China, wishes to apply for a temporary pass for entry into the IGA International airport to see off Shri Rahul Gandhi, President of Indian National Congress, departure by Flight Indigo 6E31, at 11:45 am on August 31st. 2018.
It would be highly appreciated if the esteemed Ministry could kindly notify the related departments and grant temporary passes for the entry into the IGA international airport to Mr. ZHOU Yuyun, Counsellor of China Embassy.
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in India avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of External Affairs of India the assurances of its highest consideration."
At that time, Dr Sambit Patra of the BJP had held a news briefing where he raised a question of protocol and provided a background of the Gandhi family allegedly having a 'relationship with China': "What's the Chinese connection? You are Rahul Gandhi, not Chinese Gandhi. There is a history also. Isn't it true that in 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, the whole Gandhi family was invited. They arrived in China for the opening ceremony. Sonia Gandhi was seated in an enclosure reserved for guests of the Chinese premier. When she attended and was coming back, the Chinese ambassador went to see them off though they didn't hold any posts. What's this relationship?"
In 2017, Rahul Gandhi's meeting with Chinese envoys had also come under the scanner, especially as 'private citizen' Robert Vadra and Priyanka Gandhi had also been with him during the talks.
This story comes two days after Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra was appointed Congress' General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh and with less than five months for the Lok Sabha elections.