#Politics | Rishi Rajpopat received RGF grant: Congress continues taking digs at BJP

Indian PhD scholar Rishi Rajpopat who solved a grammatical question related to an ancient Sanskrit text was a point of conversation for Congress leaders online. The party said Rajpopat received a grant from the Rajiv Gandhi foundation and hit out at the BJP for allegedly “defaming” the organisation.

Taking to Twitter, party spokesperson and social media incharge Supriya Shrinate said on Sunday, “Rishi Rajpopat’s devotees praised him a lot for solving the 2500-year-old Sanskrit mystery, then it came to know that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation had given him a scholarship to study at Cambridge University. Now, bhakts are confused. Well, wish Rishi a bright future ahead!”

Saying that Rajpopat had “made the entire country proud”, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said Saturday, “Rishi Rajpopat, a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Cambridge Scholarship has solved a 2,500-year-old Sanskrit puzzle by decoding a rule taught by ‘the father of linguistics’ Panini. My heartiest congratulations to him.”


Congress general secretary communications incharge Jairam Ramesh tweeted the same day: “I recall that Rishi Rajpopat was awarded a scholarship by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation 5 years back to pursue postgraduate work at Cambridge, the same RGF that the Modi Govt is defaming.”


Pawan Khera, the party’s media and publicity chairman also tweeted on Friday: “Thank you Rajiv Gandhi Foundation for giving the well deserved scholarship to Rishi Rajpopat, to go to Cambridge.”

In October, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), organisations associated with the Gandhi family, for alleged violations of the law.

The BJP previously alleged that the RGF had received funds from China to “conduct studies that are not in the interest of the country”.

In June 2020, after the Congress criticised the government over its handling of border issues with China in Ladakh, the BJP said the Congress had no moral right to talk about the security of the country after having “accepted money” from China.

“Today I was shocked to watch on TV that in 2005-06 People’s Republic of China and the Chinese embassy gave a fat sum to RGF. This is a secret relationship between Congress and China. These people take funds from China and then conduct studies that are not in the interest of the country. These studies create the environment for that. The nation wants to know for what they were paid and what study they conducted,” BJP president J P Nadda said at the time.

“You take $300,000 donation and teach us nationalism,” Nadda added.

The conversation played out again in Parliament last week. As the Opposition raised the heat on Chinese transgressions in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang, Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged that the Congress MPs disrupted the Question Hour to avoid questions on the money the RGF received from China.

“I saw the Question Hour list and after seeing question number 5, I understood the anxiety (of Congress). The question was regarding the cancellation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF). If they would have allowed it, I would have given an answer in Parliament that RGF received a grant of Rs 1.35 crore from the Chinese Embassy during 2005-2007, which was not appropriate as per the FCRA. So, as per the rules, Home Ministry cancelled its registration,” Shah said, clarifying that the sanction was cancelled following the Home Ministry’s regulations earlier this year.

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In his PhD thesis published on December 15, Rajpopat claims to have solved Sanskrit’s biggest puzzle — a grammar problem found in the ‘Ashtadhyayi’, an ancient text written by the scholar Panini towards the end of the 4th century BC. Experts are calling the discovery revolutionary as it may allow Panini’s grammar to be taught to computers for the first time.

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