The Congress on Sunday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for canceling the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), saying it was aimed at defaming and diverting public attention from issues of day-to-day concern to the common people.
While Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the move reflected the political malice of the Modi government, the Congress linked it to the “success” of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Congress said the allegations against the two organisations are “recycled old charges”.
Arguing that the activities of the RGF and RGCT are completely open and transparent, the Congress said the two organisations will respond to the charges hurled at it and take whatever action it deems appropriate legally.
“The economy is in deep crisis caused by spiralling prices, galloping unemployment and a falling rupee. The Bharat Jodo Yatra has evoked a huge public response. Clearly people are fed up with the politics of hate and divisiveness. What is the response of the Prime Minister and Home Minister,” Jairam Ramesh, AICC general secretary in charge of communications, said in a statement.
“Over the Deepavali weekend, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, cancelled the FCRA registrations of both the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust. They recycle old charges against the RGF and RGCT. This is to defame and divert public attention from issues of day-to-day concern to them,” he said.
He said the trusts have always been purely charitable in nature and comply with all laws and regulations.
“All statutory requirements of audit, program activity and financial disclosure, and filing of returns have been scrupulously followed every year by the Trusts. The background for the cancellation of the FCRA registration should be obvious to anyone who understands the nature of the present dispensation,” Ramesh said.
“The RGF and RGCT will of course be responding to the charges hurled at it and take whatever action it deems appropriate legally. Their activities are completely open and transparent. They have rendered yeoman public service. Meanwhile, the Congress will not be browbeaten or deterred from continuing with the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he added.
Gehlot said the decision shows the political malice of the Modi government. The government is exposing itself in the eyes of the people by indulging in such misadventures, he added.
“By attacking these organisations for purely political reasons, the Narendra Modi Government had once again tried to defame the Gandhi family. The Modi government can make every attempt but it cannot stop the Gandhi family from serving the people,” he said.
Ramesh said the people are aware that the RGF was established in 1991 after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi who stood for the ideas of sadbhavana, both among all Indians and with other nations, inclusive and sustainable development of India using science and technology including IT and Telecom, empowerment of women and youth and of local self- government at the panchayat, district and municipal levels and relief to those affected by natural disasters, floods, drought, violence, and those with disabilities.
“The RGF has been working since its inception to promote these ideas through development programs in various parts of India. Lakhs of people, including children, youth, women, and the disabled have benefited from the programs of these trusts,” Ramesh said.
“The RGCT works in northern India with a focus on the poorest regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan through development initiatives. RGCT was registered in 2002 as a professionally managed, not-for-profit institution to fulfill Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of an inclusive India. The trust initiated a program called Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana in 2002 to work toward the economic and social empowerment of women in UP. The programme followed a ‘group-based’ social empowerment process and at its peak touched the lives of more than 20 lakh poor households in the state. The Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital and Research Centre has so far provided comprehensive and quality eyecare to around 40 lakh patients, including over 4.5 lakh sight-restoring surgeries,” he added.