NEW DELHI: In the wake of reports that Congress president Rahul Gandhi wanted to undertake this year's Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, the External Affairs Ministry has clarified that it did not receive any formal request in this regard.
"We have not received any formal request for his visit to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question at a media briefing here.
His response came following media reports citing Congress sources which said that the Gandhi scion, who had expressed his desire to go for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra after the Karnataka assembly elections, had not received a response to his request for special permission from the External Affairs Ministry
Kumar also explained the procedure for undertaking the annual pilgrimage during the press briefing.
''There are primarily two ways of undertaking this. The first is through the MEA organised route, which is a very transparent route," he said.
"You have to register yourself on the (MEA) website. And through a transparent draw, which is conducted in front of the media, the names of the people who could undertake the Yatra are selected and made public there and then," he said.
The MEA spokesperson confirmed that Gandhi's name was not registered as an applicant to undertake this Yatra. "The second route is the private route where you have to go through a private travel agency to undertake this Yatra," he said.
"And in that case, some intimation could come to us, but even in that regard we have not received anything," he added.
According to an MEA press release dated February 21, the last date for registration was March 23.
But, the Congress chief had announced his desire to undertake the pilgrimage on April 29 at the Jan Akrosh rally at the Ramlila Maidan here.
This year, the Yatra is scheduled from June 8 to September 8 through two routes, according to MEA.
When asked to respond if Rahul Gandhi had applied for special permission, which is normally granted to MPs, Kumar maintained that no such request was received.
(With IANS inputs)