Congress glare on ‘Chinese cash’ for PM CARES Fund
The Congress on Sunday said the PM CARES Fund had received Rs 9,678 crore of which a sizeable sum came from Chinese firms, including Rs 7 crore from Huawei that has been linked to the Chinese army which has intruded into Indian territory and killed Indian soldiers.
The allegation comes amid a slanging match between the countries’ two main political parties over Chinese donations at a time Beijing is accused of violating India’s borders, with the BJP having fired the first salvo by citing Chinese grants to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in 2005.
Now the Congress has tried to hoist the BJP with its own petard, targeting a fund set up in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name the details of whose donations and donors remains opaque.
The Congress has also threatened to present the details of donations received by the RSS and outfits linked to the BJP in the coming days.
“Why has the Prime Minister received Chinese money into the fund, despite the overt Chinese hostilities since the last few years?” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, a Covid-19 patient, told a media conference from home isolation.
“Has the Prime Minister received Rs 7 crore from the controversial company Huawei? Does Huawei have a direct connection with People’s Liberation Army, China? Has the Chinese company owning Tik Tok facilitated a donation of Rs 30 crore to the PM CARES Fund?”
Huawei, a Chinese technology company, recently denied having any links with the Chinese government or army.
“Has Paytm, which has a 38 per cent Chinese ownership, given Rs 100 crore to the controversial fund, which has been kept beyond the established mechanisms of transparency, audit and accountability?” Singhvi said.
“Has Xiaomi, the Chinese company, committed Rs 15 crore to the PM CARES Fund? Has the Chinese company Oppo donated Rs 1 crore?
Has Prime Minister Modi diverted donations received in the PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) to the PM CARES Fund, and how many hundred crores is the amount diverted?”
While fellow Congress leader Manish Tewari wondered how the donation from Huawei, a Chinese deep-state entity, was accepted, P. Chidambaram suggested the Chinese had outwitted the Modi government.
“PM-CARES fund was set up on 28-03-2020. Chinese-owned companies donated money from that date. Chinese troops began incursions into Ladakh in March-April 2020. Does it require great intelligence to discern China’s motives?” he tweeted.
“China lulled India into complacency by Jhoola diplomacy and Chinese money. Was it not an abject failure on the part of the Modi government?”
“Jhoola (swing) diplomacy” appeared to be a reference to Modi and Xi Jinping sharing a swing during an India visit by the Chinese President.
Singhvi said he was not suggesting any quid pro quo relating to the donations but argued that the PM CARES Fund accepting money from Chinese companies should be far more serious than the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) accepting a paltry Rs 20 lakh from China.
The Congress has alleged the BJP has been highlighting the RGF donation to deflect attention from the government’s poor handling of the Chinese incursions in Ladakh.
Initially, the Congress had stuck to asking questions about the incursions but has now joined the donations discourse after BJP president J.P. Nadda entered the RGF debate.
The BJP has also accused the Congress of engaging in “anti-national” activities by asking questions on the border standoff. Some Opposition parties and Congress allies like Sharad Pawar too have asked the Congress not to politicise the border row.
Singhvi countered the charge. “If we ask ‘Has China intruded into our territory’, the answer is ‘donations accepted by RGF’. Who is politicising the issue? We said, ‘Forget politics and fight the Chinese together’ and they started attacking the Congress to divert attention. What is anti-national, to ask questions about the intrusion or to divert attention from this grave threat?” he said.
“Amit Shah says Rahul Gandhi’s accusation of surrender was lapped up by Pakistan and China. Rahul Gandhi is saying, ‘Don’t surrender to China, push them back’. Modi said nobody has intruded, not even an inch has been encroached upon. The Chinese are clapping.
“Amit Shah says he is ready to debate issues regarding China since 1962, but won’t answer questions about happenings in June 2020. Okay, call Parliament and start the debate from the Mahabharat but please tell the nation how much land has been occupied by China.”
Probably taking a dig at Modi’s Mann Ki Baat monthly radio programme, Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Sunday: “Kab hogi rashtra raksha aur suraksha ki baat (When will a discussion on national security take place).”