Even after receiving severe admonition from the court, Congress dynast Rahul Gandhi refuses to mend his ways. He continues to flog a dead horse in the form of Rafale deal and hopes to gain windfall by raking up this issue in the run up to the impending Lok Sabha elections.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid Rs 20,000 crore to France’s Dassault Aviation even though it has not delivered a single Rafale jet, but refuses to pay the dues of the Indian aerospace major.
Gandhi scion’s attack two days after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ripped apart arguments in heated debate in the Lok Sabha. The Defence Minister gave a spirited reply and refused all charges leveled by Rahul Gandhi. A day prior to that, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley buttressed the government’s stand that the multi-billion deal with French fighter jet manufacturer was in the nation’s interest.
Yet, Rahul Gandhi, who has professed his readiness to become future prime minister, hangs on the already weak branch in the form of Rafale deal. On Tuesday, he accused the Modi government of weakening public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and destroying India’s strategic capability to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani.
“The PM pays 20,000 Cr. to Dassault before a single RAFALE is delivered but refuses to pay HAL 15,700 Cr. it is owed, forcing it to borrow 1,000 Cr to pay salaries,” Gandhi tweeted. “Meanwhile, the RM (Raksha Mantri) spins lie after lie but cannot answer my questions,” he said according to PTI.
The Congress and the BJP-led NDA government have been involved in a war of words after a media report claimed that HAL, grappling with low finances, was forced to borrow Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees, for the first time in years.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has accused the Congress of not supporting HAL during its rule and asserted that the government is now strengthening the defense public sector undertaking.
Since the court having settled this matter decisively, the Congress scion’s attempt to malign NDA government and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom Rahul have personally targeted on many occasions, seems to be futile.
The Supreme Court on December 13 dismissed all the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision making process” warranting setting aside of the contract. The apex court also rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and the court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA).
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with “three broad areas of concern” raised in the petitions — the decision making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners (IOP) — and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the “sensitive issue” of purchase of 36 jets.
The court’s verdict helped clear the air which was beyond doubt in the first place. All the experts and defence analysts had put their weight in favor of the Modi government. But, Congress and its coterie is not satisfied even after the apex court of the country outspoken in no unclear terms. It seems that the liberal camp is bent on creating confusion in the country to achieve their goals. Thankfully, people are not mislead by search tactics in this age of social media and free information. Therefore, Rahul crusade on Rafale will remain grounded and not take off as the liberal camp envisages.