New Delhi: At a time when the opposition is mounting attacks on the BJP over the Rafale deal, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar came out in the support of the ruling government saying people do not have doubts over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intentions.
In an interview to a Marathi news channel, former Defence Minister Pawar also said the opposition’s demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jet “made no sense”. But he also said that there was no harm for the government to disclose prices of the aircraft.
He, however, said the way Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the government’s side led to confusion in the minds of people. “Now, (Union Finance Minister Arun) Jaitley can be seen articulating (government’s stand) on the issue (instead of Sitharaman),” he added.
The Rafale controversy took a new turn last week after Francois Hollande, who was French president when the Rs 58,000 crore deal was announced, was quoted as saying by French publication Mediapart that France was given “no choice” on selection of the Indian partner for Dassault and the Indian government proposed the name of Reliance as offset partner for the French aerospace giant.
Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
Rahul Gandhi had termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “thief” and “corrupt” in the Rafale deal while the BJP hit back saying the Gandhi family is out on bail and is the “source of all corruption in the country”.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron had said that the contract was inked between India and France when he was not in power. He clearly stated that the Rafale deal was a “government-to-government” discussion signed in the month of September, last year for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
(With PTI inputs)