March 16, 2021 1:19:06 am
A question on Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in Lok Sabha on Monday led to the treasury benches and the opposition trading barbs with each other.
The heated exchanges were triggered when Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who is leading the party in Lok Sabha while Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is away campaigning for the West Bengal polls, raised a supplementary question on the functioning of LIC. He said migrant labourers and the poor suffered during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “They did not get the benefits they should have got. LIC gave its funds only to PM CARES. Why is it so?” he alleged.
Bittu was referring to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund, which was established in March 2020 with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation, like the one posed by Covid-19, and to provide relief to those affected.
After a long chat with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Bittu added that Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur should not give a “political answer”.
Thakur began his response by taking a swipe at Bittu. “I would request him not to ask questions from a slip of paper he gets from someone else,” said the minister, apparently referring to Rahul.
He also used the opportunity to attack the Congress leadership, saying that it used the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) to extract money from the Prime Minister’s Relief fund.
Maintaining that the PM CARES fund was used to help people in need, Thakur said, “But there is one family in the country who created the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and did the job of filling their accounts. Through the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, these people did not give priority to even the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. For them the priority was always on the trust the family had created.”
“This party (Congress) did the job of filling (the bank accounts) of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. They feel the pinch because their account has now been closed. Rajiv Gandhi Foundation also took money from China,” he said.
At Thakur’s response, both sides traded barbs, with Congress members objecting to the minister’s remarks, which they said were uttered in order to avoid answering the questions they had raised.
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