Hours after denial and even terming it fake news, Congress on Monday conceded that Rahul Gandhi indeed met the Chinese envoy to India. However, in a bid to underplay the meeting, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Congress vice-president also met a Bhutanese envoy and former NSA Shiv Shankar Menon. “Various ambassadors and envoys keep meeting Congress President and Vice President time to time on courtesy basis,” Surjewala told ANI.
“PM Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping in G20 Summit at Hamburg but China still refused to have a discussion (on the Sikkim standoff),” he added.
Congress leader and MP from Ludhiana Manish Tewari also attacked the Modi government on the issue. “I ask what were ministers Prakash Jawdekar, JP Nadda & Minister of Culture doing in China at the same time as PM met Chinese Premier at G-20,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Surjewala, in a series of tweets, had denied media reports about Rahul Gandhi meeting the Chinese envoy. He said news channels were running “fake news” on Gandhi’s alleged meeting with Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui. “A wanting to be ‘Bhakt’ channel will not question 3 Union Ministers visiting China or PM’s bonhomie & praise at G20 yet run fake news,” he had tweeted.
Last week, Rahul had questioned the PM on Twitter about the latter’s silence on the Sikkim standoff. “Why is the PM silent on China?” he had tweeted. His remarks came in the wake of a face-off with Chinese troops in Doklam plateau, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan.
Earlier in the week, he had also called Modi a “weak prime minister”. He had taken to social media twice saying that PM Modi did not raise the H1-B visa issue during his talks with US President Donald Trump and that Modi accepted the term “India-administered Kashmir” by the US State Department in its order designating Hizbul-Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist.