The Shiv Sena has again put BJP on the mat. This time on the Rafale deal. The party has reportedly said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer on the deal to clear the air of suspicion.
“The documentary proof which has now in public domain reveals that the Prime Minister has taken a personal interest in Rafale deal. His interest was at an extreme level. In Rafale deal, our Modi (sic) was making the deal… defence minister and defence secretary were kept away from the deal. Did the Rafale deal take place for empowering the Indian Air Force or for rescuing a bankrupt industrialist? Till the Prime Minister gives a satisfactory reply to the questions raised by Rahul Gandhi, every citizen of this country will continue to ask questions about the deal… A reply is expected from the Prime Minister himself,” said Uddhav in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’
The party’s remarks came after a report in The Hindu newspaper claimed that the defence ministry had raised strong objections to “parallel discussions” conducted by the PMO during the negotiations over the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal between India and France.
The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said Modi gave a speech on “patriotism” in Parliament on Thursday and defended the deal. “But the very next day, the ‘black page’ (document) came out, which silenced those raising patriotic slogans and thumping benches in the House,” it said.
Without naming anyone, the Shiv Sena said that Modi was expected to answer if the deal was finalised to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist.
“The prime minister made the oft-repeated allegation (in Parliament) that the Congress does not want strengthening of the defence services. And the next day, documents surface, showing how extreme Modi’s personal interest in the deal was. What to make out of it?” the Sena asked.
“Modi was directly ‘dealing’ in the Rafale transactions. Key people like defence minister, defence secretary were kept away from it. Modi himself took decisions on issues like prices of Rafale (planes) and who would get its contract. Hence, he will have to face allegations and criticism,” it claimed.
“How does seeking explanations on issues of national security become criticism of the country,” the party asked.
The Sena further alleged that the definitions of nationalism and patriotism stood “changed” under the current BJP-led regime.
“Those who sing paeans of Rafale deal are patriots, while those raising questions about its pricing are being labelled as traitors now,” it claimed.