‘Chowkidar’ looted youth and Air Force: Rahul on Rafale

Gauri Ganj: Congress President Rahul Gandhi stepped up his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday over the controversial Rafale deal, accusing him of robbing India’s youth of employment and Air Force of their money.

Addressing the media here, he said, “The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government had given HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) the contract to manufacture 126 Rafale jets. Then Modi Ji became the Prime Minister and buys the jets, originally priced at Rs 526 crore for Rs 1,600 crore. They robbed the youth and the Air Force of employment and money.”

The Congress president went to say, “At first they said they cannot disclose the price, but (French President Emmanuel) Macron told me that’s not true, the government can disclose the price if they want to. So, (firstly) why did the Defence Minister lie? Secondly, while the HAL has ample experience in manufacturing fighter jets, Anil Ambani has never manufactured a jet in his life. He started the company (Reliance Defence and Aerospace) 10 days before getting the contract,”

Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on Prime Minister Modi by citing ex-French President Francois Hollande, who oversaw the deal, telling French publication Mediapart that the Indian Government had nominated Reliance Defence for the contract.

“He said he would be ‘desh ka chowkidar’ (the country’s watchman), and the chowkidar put Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani Ji’s pockets. He has no experience and has debts to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore. He looted the youth and the Air Force’s money. When I asked him why he did so, he could not look me in the eye and answer me, because he has robbed the nation and gave it to Ambani. That is the truth,” he said.

The Gandhi scion further assured to give justice to all those who have suffered because of the Rafale deal. He tweeted: “To every Air Force officer and Jawan who has served India. To the family of every martyred Indian fighter pilot. To every person whoever worked for HAL. We hear your pain. We understand how you feel. We will bring to justice all those who dishonoured and stole from you.”

The much-debated Rafale deal was signed in 2016 between the Prime Minister Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and the French Government for 36 jets after the original UPA deal, to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets and assemble another 108 in India, was scrapped.