Who took Chinese money: Congress, BJP trade barbs
The ruling party had accused the Gandhi family of accepting Chinese funds while the Congress hit back with allegations that Chinese firms have been contributing to PM CARES.
The past few days have seen tense exchanges between Congress and BJP on who has been taking Chinese money. Earlier in the week, the BJP Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad joined several party leaders in accusing the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation of accepting donations from the Chinese Embassy in 2005-06 during the UPA I tenure. He said that the Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had ensured that the privately-run foundation, of which Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson, received Rs 100 crore in funding.
BJP construes this as a bribe by the Chinese because after this donation the foundation recommended a free trade agreement that was heavily advantaged to the Chinese. In ten years of Congress rule, Prasad said, the party ensured that China earned a lot of money and in the trade deficit was allowed to increase 33 times than what it was before. It also accused the party of signing an MOU with the communist party of China in 2008 and of Rahul Gandhi “secretly” visiting the Chinese embassy during the Doklam standoff.
Not to be left in the dust, the Congress responded within a few days saying that during and after the Ladakh stand-off, Chinese firms have been pouring money in the highly opaque PM-CARES fund. Hundreds of crores coming in from firms like Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi have resulted in the PM having a soft corner for China. In a statement, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said that the controversial fund has received Rs 7 crore from Huawei, that may have a direct connection with the People’s Liberation Army of China, or Rs 30 crore from the Chinese company that owns Tik Tok, Rs 100 crores from Paytm which is 38% owned by Chinese companies and Rs 15 crore and Rs 1 crore from Xiaomi and Oppo respectively. Saying the opaque nature of the funds also makes it highly problematic because there is no accountability and it is not subject to government audits or the Right to Information. It is being run like a private fund of the prime minister, the Congress alleged. It also asked the BJP to stop living in 2005 and answer questions in 2020.