The BJP and the Congress on Friday got into a fresh spat after the saffron party claimed that Rahul Gandhi, who left on a Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nepal yesterday morning, wanted a ceremonial send off and asked the Chinese Ambassador to see him off.
Addressing a press conference here, BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra said "Rahul Gandhi wanted the Chinese Ambassador to see him off. The Ambassador had sought permission for it in writing to the Ministry of External Affairs so that the ceremonial lounge at the Indira Gandhi International Airport could be used for giving him a ceremonial see off in the presence of the Ambassador and other diplomats of that country."
The Congress hit back saying the BJP was insulting the abode of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati by such "cheap" political tactics.
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that an "unnerved" Prime Minister and a rattled BJP has shown their parochial, hateful mindset by mocking the religious journey.
"Calling this auspicious yatra honeymoon tourism by the BJP is the vilest attack on Hindu faith and belief," Mr Surjewala maintained.
Mr Patra claimed that the MEA did not respond to it.
Mr Patra said "It is commonsense that since you are Rahul Gandhi and not Chinese Gandhi, why should the Chinese Ambassador see you off when you are going to Nepal. There is no such protocol.
"Why Rahul Gandhi wants so? Why was such a demand made from the Chinese envoy? It is serious and something which Congress should answer," he said.
"But the question is why the Chinese Ambassador wanted to see off a non-Chinese resident. They never do it with Indian MPs or Indian citizens. This is the question. What is the Chinese connection?," he said.
The BJP leader said he was raising questions about Mr Gandhi's "China connection" because there was a history behind it.
"Is it not true that the Gandhi family was invited to China for the inauguration of the Beijing Olympics. Then Congress President Sonia Gandhi was the special guest of the Chinese government although she was not holding any government post. Even the Chinese Ambassador went to the airport to see off the entire family. Ye rishta kya kahlata hai...(What does this relationship say)," he asked.
He said the relation of Rahul Gandhi and China is well known by now and sought to know from him whom he will be meeting during his visit.
"When Chinese premier (Xi Jinping) comes to India and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the banks of river Sabarmati, you question it. You say that the Prime Minister and the Chinese President sat side-by-side on a swing and here you want to be given a ceremonial see off by the Chinese ambassador."
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