BJP raises China funds to Cong trust
Questioning the link between China and the Congress, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday alleged that both the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy in India contributed to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF).Updated: Jun 26, 2020 03:58 IST
Questioning the link between China and the Congress, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday alleged that both the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy in India contributed to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) — a trust chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi — with former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and P Chidambaram as trustees.
The BJP, led by Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, also alleged that RGF had pushed for a free trade agreement between the two countries, leading to a huge trade deficit skewed in favour of China, and that the donation led to the Congress supporting China.
The Congress, in turn, said the BJP was engaging in diversionary tactics, questioned it on visits and exchanges between the BJP and the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the past decade, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a “strange bonhomie” with China even as borders were insecure, and claimed that questioning the patriotism of the Congress was “outrageous”.
The political war of words between the two parties on the national security intensified with the BJP alleging that RGF’s annual report for 2005-06 showed it received donation from the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and was listed as a donor.
“They (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) are attacking the Narendra Modi government and supporting China because of these donations to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation,” Prasad said. “The document clearly shows the embassy as a donor.”
“The Congress should explain why such affection for China? There is a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act that says any political party or organisation cannot accept foreign funds, and the RGF was an extension of the Congress party. Did they take permission before taking money? Did they inform the government why they had taken the money?” he asked.
Amit Malviya, head of the BJP’s social media team, tweeted: “Not just the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India but even the government of People’s Republic of China is a donor to the Rajiv Gandhi foundation.”
Addressing a virtual rally in Madhya Pradesh, BJP president JP Nadda said during the 2017 Doklam standoff, Rahul Gandhi was secretly holding talks with China’s ambassador to India in Delhi. “Today, during Galwan Valley clash also Congress is misleading the country,” Nadda said.
The Congress, in turn, alleged that PM Modi shared a “strange bonhomie” with China, though India had not benefitted from it.
At a virtual press conference, party spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged, “There is a strange kind of bonhomie between Narendra Modi and China, a two-decade-old bonhomie. Why doesn’t the country get the benefit of that bonhomie? Whatever is happening on the border today, is it despite the bonhomie which you have with China, or is it because of the bonhomie which you have with China?”
The allegation was echoed by the party’s foreign affairs department chief Anand Sharma, who said that questioning the patriotism of the Congress — which had led the freedom movement — was “outrageous”.
Khera also questioned the role of India Foundation, an organisation closely affiliated with the BJP, in strengthening the bonds with China.
“Why does India Foundation keep visiting these countries? Who do they meet? What’s the outcome? What’s the role of NSA Ajit Doval’s son — Shaurya Doval? He keeps attending these meetings through India Foundation? These are important questions in the light of what is happening,” he said.
HT tried to reach out to Shaurya Doval, but there was no response till the time of going to press.