Rafale deal: The Congress party has decided to step up its attack on the government over alleged irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The Congress party has decided to make the Rafale deal controversy a major plank in its campaign against the Narendra Modi government going into the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Unconvinced by the numerous explanations offered by the central government, the French government and more recently, by industrialist Anil Ambani, the Congress party has decided to step up its attack on the government over alleged irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
According to news agency ANI, the party has decided to hold press conferences in over 100 cities in the country to expose the wrongdoings of the government in signing the deal. It said that starting August 25, Congress leaders in different cities will brief the media in a bid to highlight the Modi government’s faults.
“Congress will hold press conferences in two phases in 100 cities of India from August 25 over the issue of Rafale deal,” ANI reported citing sources.
The Congress party has been alleging a ‘monumental scam’ in the purchase of the fighter jets from France and has already announced that it will launch a nationwide strike on the issue soon. The party is demanding that the government disclose the price and other details of the deal. According to the Congress, the deal signed between India and France has caused a loss of Rs 41,000 crore to the exchequer.
“The party has now said that it will launch an agitation to highlight ‘bhrashtachar ka khel, Rafale’ (corruption in Rafale deal),” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
On the other hand, the government has been maintaining that the details of the deal can’t be released to the public due to a secrecy clause signed between India and France during the UPA-I tenure in 2008 when Congress leader AK Antony was the Defence Minister.
The development comes two days after Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani sent a letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi contending that his party has been ‘misinformed, misdirected and misled’ on the deal. Also, the Reliance Group this week sent a ‘cease and desist’ notice to the Congress party spokespersons to stop from speaking on the issue without verifying the facts.
The Anil Ambani-led group has alleged that there is a concerted campaign by corporate rivals. The notices were marked to Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala, Ashok Chavan, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Sunil Jakhar among others.