A war of words broke out between the Congress and the BJP as Congress president Rahul Gandhi left for a nearly two-week-long Kailash Mansarovar yatra on Friday. While the BJP alleged that Rahul is visiting China, and ostensibly wanted the Chinese ambassador to give him a ceremonial see-off, the Congress hit back and accused the BJP of attacking Hindu belief and faith.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the Chinese ambassador had sought permission in writing from the Ministry of External Affairs to see off Rahul Gandhi at the ceremonial lounge of Delhi’s IGI Airport.
Patra asked the Congress to reveal which politicians and officials Rahul will meet during his visit to China, which the BJP leader said is the Congress chief’s “favourite country”.
“You are Rahul Gandhi, not Chinese Gandhi. Why should the Chinese ambassador want to see off a non-Chinese person? There is no such protocol,” Patra told the media.
He also asked what Rahul Gandhi’s China connection is. “Ye rishta kya kahlata hai? (what is this relationship called),” he asked. The BJP leader claimed that Rahul is flying to Nepal, from where he will go to China.
Accusing the BJP of trying to create hurdles in “Shiv bhakt” Rahul’s Kailash Mansarovar yatra, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said, “People in the BJP do not know that those who create hurdles between Shiv and his devotees earn sin and attract his curse. An unnerved Prime Minister and a rattled BJP have shown their parochial, hateful mindset by mocking this sacrosanct religious journey of Rahul-ji to Maha Kailash.”
Surjewala said, “Calling this auspicious yatra ‘honeymoon tourism’ by the BJP is the vilest attack on Hindu faith and belief. It is sad and tragic that the BJP is insulting the abode of Lord Shiv and Maa Parvati by such cheap political tactics. We pray that Mahadev shows them the path of enlightenment to cleanse their minds and souls from (this) hatred,” he said.
Surjewala did not disclose Rahul’s yatra route citing security reasons and said the pilgrimage will take 12 to 14 days.
In April, Rahul had announced that he would undertake the pilgrimage after the Karnataka Assembly elections. He had said that the thought of undertaking the yatra occurred to him after his plane nosedived by around 8,000 feet while on way to Hubli in Karnataka during the election campaign phase.
Surjewala on Friday asked why the BJP is so disturbed over Gandhi’s yatra. “Can Rahul Gandhi not pay obeisance to Lord Shiv (and) pray for the country’s prosperity and development? Does he need the permission of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi for a darshan of Shiv. Does Modi consider himself greater than Shiv? This is the height of arrogance of the BJP.”