The Congress today took a dig at the BJP-led government after it announced that no initial bids were received for the proposed stake sale of Air India, saying the present dispensation should rather release earmarked funds to restructure the company. Senior party leader Manish Tewari, who has been quite critical of the disinvestment process right from the time the airline came out with the preliminary information memorandum for the stake sale in March this year, said the government should hand over the national carrier to the employees cooperative. “NDA/BJP’s efforts to sell of a 5 lakh crore Air India for peanuts to their cronies collapsed. Cronies fled. Not one bid came despite depressing valuations & salami slicing company into bits. Why does not Govt hand it over to an Employees Cooperative rather than Babus?,” he tweeted after the government’s announcement about the initial failed bid process.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who has expressed his solidarity with the Air India employees union, congratulated to the airline’s staff, saying their fight has yielded results. “Congratulations to all Air Indians. Your fight yields result. BJP failed in selling national flag carrier finally. Now Modi must release funds which is earmarked for restructuring the company since the #UPA time,” he said. The deadline for submission of Expression of Interest (EoI) for Air India stake sale ended today with not a single bidder evincing interest in the airline, nearly one year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government gave its nod for the sale.