Any inquiry into the “missing” Rafale files should begin with Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Friday.
Addressing a meeting of the party’s booth committee workers, Gandhi said like the missing Rafale files, the Goa government, headed by the ailing Parrikar, was also missing.
“You want to start an inquiry, then start the inquiry with Parrikar. Parrikar said clearly in the cabinet, it is taped, that Rafale files are with him and that Narendra Modi cannot remove him as Goa Chief Minister,” Gandhi said.
“Not just the files are missing. The Goa government is missing,” Gandhi said, hinting at a slump in administration in the coastal state, especially with Parrikar being afflicted with advanced pancreatic cancer.
Gandhi said had the contract to build Rafale planes been given to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the planes would have been built at the government-owned aviation company’s facilities in Bengaluru, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, which would have provided jobs to local youth, especially engineers.
Gandhi said that fresh revelations which have been unearthed by a national newspaper have indicated that the delivery of the Rafale fighter jets would in fact now take place after 10 years.
“…it is written clearly that because of Narendra Modi, the Rafale plane will arrive late and that it would take 10 years for Rafale to come to India,” Gandhi said.
The Congress president also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trying to conduct “parallel negitiations” in the Rafale deal, which he said, eventually led to a steep escalation in the price of the fighter.
“The Supreme Court said bring back the CBI director. CBI director is brought back and in some hours, Modi sacked him again. We don’t know why, what was the hurry?” Gandhi said.
The Congress president also said that during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, the slogan ‘Achche Din Ayenge’ was popular, but added that in the run-up to the 2019 general election, the “mood of the nation” was summed up with the Congress slogan ‘Chowkidar chor hai’.
“Earlier, the slogan was ‘Achche Din Ayenge’. Modi ji used to say ‘Achche din’ and people would say ‘Ayenge’. Now you say ‘Chowkidar’ and people say ‘Chor hai’. There is no need to say anything else,” Gandhi said.