The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took potshots at the Congress and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi, who rejoined parliamentary proceedings today, alleging that the Chinese were funding the party. The scathing attack comes a day after an explosive report in the New York Times claimed that media portal NewsClick was pushing the Chinese agenda. The BJP also defended the 2021 Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into its financing, headed by American tech mogul Neville Roy Singham.
The ED had searched NewsClick’s premises in 2021 and found that it received foreign funds worth Rs 38 crore, with authorities tracing the money trail to Singham.
The debate came up at the Parliament as BJP MP Nishikant Dubey targeted Congress over the NYT report in Lok Sabha today. Several words from his speech were, however, deleted subsequently as Congress objected to the "defamatory charges" and sought removal of the speech.
At a press conference, Union minister Anurag Thakur said, "Congress, China and NewsClick are part of an umbilical cord. In Rahul Gandhi's 'Nakli Mohabbat Ki Dukaan' Chinese goods can be seen clearly. His love for China can be seen. They were running an anti-India agenda."
“In 2021, we exposed NewsClick as to how foreign propaganda is against India. In this anti-India campaign, Congress and other opposition parties came in their support... Chinese companies were funding NewsClick through Mogul Neville Roy Singham but their salesmen were some people from India, who came in their support when action was taken against them," Thakur said.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, also at the presser, said, "These narratives that are put out by platforms like NewsClick and other platforms that are operating in concert are echoed almost blandly in a similar fashion by this political leader, Rahul Gandhi, who goes abroad and says exactly the same things-democracy is under danger, the judiciary is compromised, EVMs are compromised. This is exactly the narrative that these platforms put out.”
According to the NYT report, corporate filings reveal how Singham’s network, which financed the news site, sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points to the extent of reportedly showing how “China’s history continues to inspire the working classes”.
“These groups operate in coordination. They have cross-posted articles and shared one another’s content on social media hundreds of times. Many share staff members and office space. They organize events together and interview one another’s representatives without disclosing their ties,” NYT reported.