The Congress did a U-turn within the day yesterday when it first vehemently denied of a rumoured meeting between the Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui and party chief Rahul Gandhi, but confirmed that the meeting in a few hours. Later, Rahul Gandhi treated defensively on his meeting and the Sikkim standoff: “It is my job to be informed on critical issues. I met the Chinese Ambassador, Ex-NSA, Congress leaders from NE and the Bhutanese Ambassador,” Rahul tweeted in the evening. Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari identified the ex-NSA as Shivshankar Menon. The party leaders also pointed out that three Union ministers were visiting China at the moment, and PM Modi himself refused to raise the issue of the border stand-off at the G-20 summit with his counterpart Xi Jinping (Hamburg, Germany) but had kept up the picture of bonhomie. Both Gandhi and spokesperson Tiwari expressed the party’s concern over the stand-off with the Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector.
Earlier in the day though, the party was singing a different tune, with the communications department head Randeep Surjewala tweeting, “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.” Also on the attack was national media panelist Jaiveer Shergill who tweeted “Media having meltdown over non-existent meeting b/w @OfficeOfRG & Ambassador but remains mum on PM praise for China.”
As it turned out that there was an obvious communication gap between the Rahul Gandhi’s office and the rest of the party, it was Anand Sharma who admitted to the mistake and reasoned that it was a part of Rahul Gandhi’s duties to be in the loop with matters of national security, and the meeting was routine and was accompanied by a briefing with the former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon who served under the former PM Manmohan Singh as part of the UPA government.