Rafale Will Bring PM Modi Back : Defence Minister
Defence Minister Sitaram nearly reply two-hour in parliament to an acrimonious debate on the Rafale jet deal, and said that Congress of scrapping an earlier deal for 126 jets when it was in power because it “didn’t get the money” and ignored national security in favour of its “treasury security”.
The minister referred to the Bofors scandal that exploded when Rajiv Gandhi – the father of Congress president Rahul Gandhi – was prime minister in 1986 and said: Bofors was a scam and Rafale is not a scam. It is a decision in the national interest. They lost an election because of Bofors. Rafale will bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi back to power.
In response, Rahul Gandhi directly accused the PM of corruption: “I am not accusing the defense minister. I am accusing Narendra Modi of involvement in the Rafale scam.
Allegations linked to the Rafale purchase, mainly that PM Modi went for a new, overpriced deal for 36 aircraft to help Anil Ambani win a Rs. 30,000 crore offset contract, were the core of Congress’ campaign for recent elections in which it snatched three BJP-ruled states.
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi referred to “AA” when he repeated the allegations. The government reasserted on Friday that it had no role in choosing offset partners.
Nirmala Sitharaman said different between a defence deal and dealing in defence
Nirmala Sitharaman alleged that the deal negotiated by the Congress fell through because “it didn’t suit” the party. “The deal didn’t get you money. There is something different between a defence deal and dealing in defence. We don’t do defence dealings.
We deal in defence with national security as our priority.” She also quoted last month’s Supreme Court giving a clean chit to the government on its Rafale decision-making.
Ms Sitharaman also said that our government’s deal is cheaper compared to the UPA’s. “Our price of the basic Rafale aircraft is Rs. 670 crores, which is highly cheaper than what the UPA deal of Rs. 737 crores,” she said.
She also emphasized that unlike the previous deal, which never materialized, the delivery of first Rafale aircraft will happen in September 2019 and the last of the 36 jets will be delivered in 2022.
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