Chidambaram faults govt. on Rafale deal

‘Cong. will seek public opinion before finalising LS poll manifesto’

October 01, 2018 08:38 pm | Updated 08:38 pm IST


Continuing his tirade against the BJP-led government at the Centre over the Rafale deal, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram said the government should explain the reason behind limiting the number of aircraft to 36 instead of 126 agreed to by the Congress regime.

Alleging that there was something fishy in the high profile defence deal, Mr. Chidambaram on Monday faulted the Narendra Modi government for limiting the purchase when it claimed that it was purchasing the aircraft at a price 9% less than what was agreed to by the Congress government.

“This is simple arithmetic. When we find that the price of a commodity, we proposed to buy has come down, we will buy more of the commodity taking advantage of the fall in price but the BJP government has done the other way round,” he said here. He said when the seven or eight squadrons required 18 aircraft each, the BJP government had scrapped the previous agreement to buy 126 aircraft and gave no valid reason for the decision. The former Union Minister said it was a matter of suspicion that the government had ignored the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics in the deal.

Answering a question, Mr. Chidambaram said he had been pointing out the “blunders” of the Union government on the economic front and people were convinced that it was incompetent in managing the economy.

To a question, he said the Congress was part of the DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu and the party would be happy if more partners joined the front. On AIADMK’s protest against the DMK and the Congress for their ‘complicity’ in the Eelam war in Sri Lanka, Mr. Chidambaram said “the AIADMK leaders were nowhere during the war and do not even know what exactly happened”.

Mr. Chidambaram, who heads the party’s manifesto committee for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, said the Congress would seek public opinion before finalising the manifesto. The party also proposed to start a website for seeking public views.

He said the All India Congress Committee secretary had sent a circular seeking the views of the party workers in every district ahead of finalising the manifesto and the first Congress workers’ meeting would be held at Kalayarkoil on October 20.

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