If one has to centre in on one point which has been the backbone of Congress campaigning, it’s the Rafale deal. Whether it’s a rally, road show or merely an interview, Rahul Gandhi will drag the Rafale deal in the middle of the event and proceed to speak about it in great detail, putting various allegations on the current government. The Congress believes Rafale is a miraculous deal through which they will be able to establish that the BJP is just as corrupt as they are, and hence, use it as a leverage to get electoral benefits. But unfortunately for them, this isn’t going according to the plan, mainly because Rahul Gandhi keeps botching it up. In a latest, Rahul Gandhi has stated that he doesn’t know the details for the deal and will have to first understand them before taking any decisive action.
From proclaiming “Supreme Court has agreed that Chowkidar Chor Hai” to attributing false words to the French President, Rahul Gandhi’s imbecility has been the greatest factor in Congress’ failure to derive electoral benefits from the deal. But his latest comment during an interview with News Nation tops the list. During the course of the interview, the interviewer questioned Rahul Gandhi that if he is sure of the theft, and Modi government’s involvement in it, why is he not openly saying that the deal would be scrapped off or will be re-negotiated if the Congress comes to power since he believes that the exchequer has suffered a loss. To this, Rahul Gandhi stated that he is merely the opposition’s leader and that he does not know the details. Hence, before doing anything, he will have to consult the Air Force and the people who understand the deal.
Since the past one year, Congress leaders collectively have been calling out for scrapping the Rafale deal. Partap Singh Bajwa, a Congress leader and MP from Rajya Sabha had stated that the Congress started a campaign to inform the people about the scam. Moreover, Bajwa also said the Rafale agreement has to be cancelled as it is a matter of security. Rahul Gandhi himself has been harping on the corruption over the Rafale deal and has even coined his election slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” on the basis of his views on this one deal. He has always portrayed himself to be assured about PM Modi’s ‘corruption’ over the deal and has been influencing a considerable number of citizens since the past 1 year because of this. On one hand, he, along with the rest of Congress leaders are purporting themselves to be sure of PM Modi’s ‘corruption’ and on the other hand, we have Rahul Gandhi’s admission stating that he does not know anything of the deal. One may wonder, if the Congress president, supposedly, the most knowledgeable person in the clan, does not know the details of the deal, how is he considering himself to be an authority on PM Modi’s corruption? Moreover, on what grounds is he inciting the citizens to follow suit and declare PM Modi as guilty?
The Congress scion claims that he will consult with the IAF before deciding on what to do with the deal. This is the single most absurd thing an individual, let alone a national leader can say because the IAF has already given a clean chit on the deal and has actually gone through the details (unlike Rahul Gandhi). Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa has termed the deal a “good package” and has stated that the aircraft will be a “game-changer” for the subcontinent. He also stated that Dassault Aviation choosing Reliance Defence over state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the offset partner was the “prerogative” of the original equipment manufacturer and neither the government nor the Air Force had any role in it.
Talking about the “advantages in the deal”, and the “very good package” received “along with the aircraft”, Dhanoa stated that the Air Force has got the most modern censors, state-of-the-art weapons, India specific enhancements, better price terms, better delivery time schedules, better maintenance terms, longer industrial commitment terms and additional warranty.
On Congress’ allegations that the Modi government had suo moto taken the decision, Air Chief Marshal said that the Rafale deal was consulted with the Air Force at an “appropriate level“. Moreover, the reason that HAL wasn’t involved in the manufacturing was due to the fact that additional man-hours in production of the aircraft would have led to a cost increase.
On the cost issue, he stated that a Cost Negotiating Committee was established which decided that overall cost of the 36 aircraft was reasonable. He categorically stated that “It is not overpricing… We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. The government has negotiated a very good deal.” Making a jibe at Congress, BS Dhanoa said, “How can you assume they will sign a contract many times more than the cost we already know? It is slightly awkward.”
Perhaps Rahul Gandhi is unaware of the fact that BS Dhanoa as the Air Chief Marshal holds the highest post in the Air Force. He has given a clean chit to the deal and has in fact lauded the government for achieving such favourable terms. Yet, either Rahul Gandhi is blissfully unaware of this development, or has chosen to lie about it. Moreover, as far as the “other people who understand this” are concerned with, both, the CAG and the Supreme Court have given clean chits to the deal, stating that the deal is free from corruption.
Basically, all the authorities concerned have stated that the deal is the best the government could negotiate and is extremely satisfied with the defense preparations the country has taken. Rahul Gandhi is the only individual who is unsatisfied and is alleging corruption, and as precedence proves, isn’t the brightest of the lot. At the same time is also stating that he doesn’t know anything about the deal. So according to the Congress narrative, even though Rahul Gandhi doesn’t know an iota of the deal, and those who do know about it have given the deal clean chits, PM Modi is still somehow guilty of corruption.
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