Opposition leaders on Sunday criticised the Narendra Modi government after the Indian Premier League’s Governing Council decided to retain Chinese sponsors for the tournament to be played in the United Arab Emirates from September 19 to November 10, PTI reported.
This came after the Centre banned 59 mobile applications, mostly popular Chinese apps such as TikTok, WeChat, Cam Scanner, citing threat to national security and sovereignty. The ban came amid continuing tensions on the border between India and China. The order covered a variety of applications from e-commerce to gaming, social media, browsers, instant messaging and file sharing to target China in the online space. Nearly a month after that, the government also banned 47 applications that were mainly clones of the earlier ones.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of “double standards” with this decision. “Wither #AatmaNirbharBharatAbhiyan,” he tweeted. “Welcome back cricket-China-profiteering and double standards. #BJPExposed.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also castigated the decision to retain Chinese sponsorship. “Chinese cell phone makers will continue as title sponsors of the IPL while people are told to boycott Chinese products,” he tweeted. “It’s no wonder China is thumbing its nose at us when we are so confused about how to handle Chinese money/investment/sponsorship/advertising.”
He added: “I feel bad for those idiots who threw their Chinese made TVs off their balconies only to see this happen.”
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying that China will not know “what hit them” with this sudden and unexpected move. “Now the Chinese will know..........what we always suspected that we really can’t manage without their sponsorship & advertising,” Abdullah said.
According to reports, at least four Board of Control for Cricket sponsors have substantial Chinese investors. IPL title sponsor VIVO, the mobile phone manufacturer, is a Chinese company, while online fantasy game entity Dream11 – an associate sponsor of BCCI and IPL – also has Chinese investment. E-learning platform Byju’s and Paytm, India’s team sponsor and the BCCI’s title sponsor for cricket in India respectively, are funded by Chinese entities too.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah is the current BCCI secretary.
Last month, the Centre tightened procurement rules for bidders from neighbouring countries amid tensions with China. Tensions between India and China soared after a clash between their armies in Ladakh’s Galwan valley last month. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in the violent altercation on the intervening night of June 15-June 16. The face-off between the two neighbouring countries was the worst instance of violence along the Line of Actual Control since 1975.
Union Road and Transport minister Nitin Gadkari had said on July 1 that China will not be allowed to participate in highway projects in India.