A new round of conflict has erupted between BJP and Congress over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets, which are said to strengthen the country’s defence system. How can we lag behind in procuring the kind of bomber jets which China and Pakistan air forces are already possessing? Rahul Gandhi has adopted a very distinct route to upset the BJP politically. For him, it is definitely a solid point to corner the ruling over the charges of alleged corruption in the deal. Although the Rafale jets were supposed to fly on Indian sky after September 2019, the chaos over its procurement has opened floodgates.
Congress has stressed that if the deal was ‘clean’, then why the unnecessary delay in ordering a probe. The Congress party had lost the power in 2014 only because of the corruption charges. Now the ruling party seemed to have been entangled into similar corruption charges.
The current developments in the Rafale deal are similar to the Bofors deal during the Late Rajiv Gandhi regime. At that time too there was the same noise and opposition. Right now, the BJP has been nearly trapped into a tangled web of alleged dishonesty. Rahul Gandhi looks emboldened with France Ex-President Francois Hollande’s remarks emerging like a bonus to his political competency. Any turbulence at the moment may cost the ruling party dearly, feel political pundits.
Amid allegations and counter-allegations, Hollande’s comment created all the fury. He said that the Indian government had proposed the Reliance group. Later, he added that it was for France’s Dassault Aviation to comment on whether or not it was pressurised to collaborate with Ambani’ firm. But the Dassault denied any pressure or influence. The Rafale deal was sealed between the two countries during Hollande’s tenure. Congress planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France earlier while BJP proposed to buy as many as 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets.
The Congress took up the issue with great interest and used every opportunity to attack BJP. It’s considered to be a very skilful way of extracting political benefit.
Four years ago, BJP came to power with a promise to end corruption in the country. Will the Rafale deal be an important issue in the next parliamentary elections? Undermining the role of the Public Sector Unit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in the present deal and providing a tender worth Rs 30 thousand crores to the unskilled firm was what could be called PM’s Skill India programme, alleged Rahul Gandhi.