New Delhi: Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday accused Rahul Gandhi of using his courtesy visit to him for ‘petty political gains’. The Goa chief minister’s reaction came a day after the Congress president targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, claiming that Parrikar had clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the ‘new deal’.
In a letter to the Congress president, Parrikar said, “I feel let down that you have used this visit for your petty political gains. In the 5 minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, nor did we discuss anything related to it.”
The Goa CM also wrote, “I have said this before and wish to reiterate it again in today’s context too. The fighter aircraft are procured following all stated procedures keeping national security as top priority.”
He added, “Paying a courtesy visit and then stooping so low as to make a false statement for petty political gain has raised, in my mind, questions about the sincerity and purpose of your visit itself. I thought your visit would give me your good wishes in that cause of serving our people. Little did I know that you had other intentions. With deep disappointment, I write to you hoping that you would put out the truth. Kindly do not use your visit to an ailing person to feed political opportunism.”
Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday at a booth-level party workers meeting in Kochi, after paying a visit to Parrikar, had said, “Friends, the ex-defence minister Mr Parrikar clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the new deal that was orchestrated by Mr Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani.”
The Congress has been targeting Modi on the deal, alleging that the price of each aircraft was sharply hiked from around Rs 526 crore, negotiated under the deal during UPA, to Rs 1,600 crore and that the contract would help Anil Ambani get Rs 30,000 crore benefit through offset contract.
The government has denied the charges and has accused the Congress of spreading ‘falsehood’ on the issue.