Update at 4:17 pm: Republic TV has 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."
The BJP levelled a sensational charge against Rahul Gandhi on Friday and posed a number of questions to him, as party spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra claimed that the Congress president had sought a ceremonial send-off from the Chinese ambassador to India while he was departing for China via Nepal.
"Rahul Gandhi will go to Nepal and then China", Dr Patra said, adding, "He wanted the Chinese ambassador to see him off. The Chinese ambassador wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) asking for three passes to use the airport lounge so that a ceremonial send-off could be given to see off Rahul Gandhi."
In response to this application, the government of India didn't respond, the BJP spokesperson revealed, addressing the Congress president directly and saying the following: "You are Rahul Gandhi not Chinese Gandhi. Why should the Chinese ambassador come see you off? There is no such protocol".
"Why such a demand from the Chinese envoy?", Dr Patra asked, seeking an answer from the Congress party.
He went on to elaborate on the matter: "Three permanent passes are with every envoy. Did they use it? Why did the Chinese ambassador want to see off a non-Chinese resident? Why see off an Indian resident?"
Continuing on this line of questioning, he 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?"
The news briefing had begun with a declaration that Rahul Gandhi has left for China, with Dr Patra claiming that 'Rahul Gandhi loves China' and backing up his claim by showcasing a video of Rahul Gandhi's remarks waxing lyrical about China, especially vis-a-vis India, made during his recent Europe trip, and also a photo that had surfaced earlier of Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra, meeting Chinese dignitaries.
In response to the BJP's charge, the Congress party issued a response via senior leader and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who counter-alleged that the BJP is playing politics as it is insecure over Rahul Gandhi undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. He cited the Congress president's 'deep faith in Lord Shiva':
Get today’s India news and stay updated with latest news headlines. Follow the latest India news and never miss out on any updates from the world of Politics, Economy, Elections etc. Download the app or visit Republic World to watch Live TV & get all the breaking news from India.