After seeing the high voltage no-confidence drama and the famous hug, it is clear that both Congress and BJP have launched a full-scale campaign for the 2019 General election. The Congress is trying to make its image as a party against corruption and at the same time, trying to create an emotional impact on Hindu voters. By giving a hug to PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi might have hoped to show what a true Hindu should do. On the other side, BJP is looking confident and didn’t hesitate to criticize the opposition.
In 2001, the Indian Air Force (IAF) presented the need for additional fighter jets. The actual process to acquire the jets only began in 2007 when the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by then Defence Minister A.K. Antony, approved the ‘Request For Proposal’ to buy 126 aircraft. The UPA government failed to complete the deal as Dassault Aviation refused to take the responsibilities for quality control during the production of 108 aircraft in India. After NDA came to power, PM Narendra Modi finalised the deal during his visit to France.
While the aircraft are expected to be delivered by September 2019, the results of the general elections will also play a role in deciding the future of the deal.
The Congress is accusing the BJP of hiding information about the deal (especially the price) under the garb of secrecy, whereas the BJP has excused itself by saying that the secrecy pact was signed by then Defence Minister A K Antony and the Rafale deal was a part of it. The French government also issued a statement saying that the details of the deal are classified. Interestingly, French President Emmanuel Macron in his interview with India Today said that the Modi government was free to disclose certain details to the public. Even the most recent statement by the French government did not clarify its stand on disclosing the price of the deal.
Rahul Gandhi has claimed that during his meeting with the French President, the latter cleared that there is no secret pact between the Indian and French government. No one really knows the truth except the ruling party and opposition.
Initially, it was decided that India would buy 18 jets in flyaway condition while the remaining 108 would be manufactured in India. The price of each jet is said to be around ₹740 crore, hence the total cost would have been around ₹54,000 crore. However, the UPA govt. wanted the jets at a 20% lower price, which could be a reason why it was stalled for so long. Additionally, while Dassault provisioned for 3 crore man hours for production, HAL’s estimate was nearly 3 times higher, escalating costs manifold.
Keeping aside the fact that neither government paid any attention to promoting indigenous technology, the delay in this deal has already cost our defence sector a lot. And of course, both BJP and Congress will continue their blame game, and the victim will be the IAF and security of the nation. In case the deal goes through smoothly, both parties will try to take credit for it.
Even though the opposition has nothing to prove against the Modi government so far, they are trying their best to attack it – whether it’s the Jio institute or Rafale or demonetisation or price hike. While the Modi government’s performance will be judged by the citizens, the Congress’ desperate attempt to break the government through no-confidence motion became another false firing.
It’s clear that the Congress is doing everything to get the attention of BJP’s core vote bank. It may not be succeeding, but and at least we can confidently say this will continue till the general elections.
In the end, whether it’s BJP or Congress, it doesn’t matter who will come to the power because both have failed the public.