Mumbai

PM showed courage in going through with Rafale: Rajnath

No scam in the deal, wonder why Congress is raking it up, asks Defence Minister

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for reigniting the Rafale controversy during a recent election rally in the financial capital. The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the deal has even been cleared by the Supreme Court but the Congress and Mr. Gandhi continue to abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister, he said, has shown exemplary courage in ensuring the deal goes through while the Congress regimes only sat on the files for 10 years.

Mr. Gandhi had, during an election rally in Chandivali on Sunday, questioned the purpose of the Defence Minister’s ‘unprecedented’ visit to France to receive the first Rafale fighter jet, saying BJP leaders had guilt in their minds for making mistakes in the controversial deal.

“They have called PM Modi names over this deal, which took a great deal of courage to see through. I have myself seen the files and there is no scam in it, yet the circus over the deal continues,” Mr. Singh said.

Even the shastra puja conducted by him by etching an ‘Om’ on the Rafale jet was turned into a controversy, he said.

“These jets have supersonic speed and wish we had these during the air skirmishes with Pakistan post Balakot. We would not have needed to cross the border to wipe out the terror camps and may have done it from our soil if we had these jets.”

The Defence Minister was participating in an election road show across the Goregaon and Charkop constituencies while addressing a rally in support of local candidate and sitting legislator Narendra Mehta at Mira Bhayandar. Raising the issue of his visit to Paris to formalise the modalities of the deal, he said those mocking the ceremony for the new jets were playing communal politics. “I have done no crime by conducting a puja on the jets and Om, which was etched on the jets, is a universal symbol used by all faiths.”

The BJP leader said the Kashmir issue and the scrapping of Article 370 was not even discussed during Mr. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent meetings. But Mr. Gandhi visited the United Kingdom and chose to talk with Labour Party leaders about the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, he said.

“Why does he want to internationalise the Kashmir issue, which is our internal matter? There was a tweet later put out by the Labour Party leaders on it. I want to ask why did the Congress not criticise this tweet about human rights violations in Kashmir?” he said.

The Defence Minister also said that the removal of Article 370 was a historic decision taken to honour the values of the party whose leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had sacrificed his life for this dream.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 12:57:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pm-showed-courage-in-going-through-with-rafale-rajnath/article29684908.ece

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