New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi landed in a major political controversy on Monday when it turned out that he had quietly met Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui last Saturday (July 9), a day after Mr Gandhi had criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “silence” on China amid the face-off between the armies of the two nations in the Doklam area of Bhutan, which China covets.
The Congress initially did not disclose that there had been such a meeting. The cat was let out of the bag unwittingly by the Chinese embassy, which posted a message on its website briefly that a meeting had taken place on July 8, only to remove it subsequently. But it was too late by then, as journalists had already taken screenshots of the embassy website.
As political pressure mounted, an embarrassed Congress, which obviously did not want to publicise the meeting for some reason, had to finally acknowledge that it had taken place. The party then chose to downplay it, terming it a “courtesy call”, and pointed out that Mr Gandhi had met the Bhutanese ambassador as well. Mr Gandhi then took to Twitter to launch a frontal attack on the government, saying it was his “job to be informed on critical issues”, and also asking the government why three ministers had visited China recently, and questioning Mr Modi’s move to sit on a swing with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad in 2014 .
“It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese ambassador, ex-NSA (Shiv Shankar Menon), Congress leaders from the Northeast & the Bhutanese ambassador... I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India,” Mr Gandhi hit out, referring to a picture of Mr Modi with the Chinese President on a swing....