The Congress today invited unwanted embarrassment when its mouthpiece “National Herald” drew an analogy between the infamous Bofors scam during Rajiv Gandhi's regime in the late 80s and the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France during the tenure of Narendra Modi, the incumbent Prime Minister of India.
The Congress today invited unwanted embarrassment when its mouthpiece “National Herald” drew an analogy between the infamous Bofors scam during Rajiv Gandhi’s regime in the late 80s and the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France during the tenure of Narendra Modi, the incumbent Prime Minister of India. In an article published on the front page of the “National Herald” titled “Rafale: Modi’s Bofors”, the daily asked why the government is shying away from disclosing the price of the deal. It said that the Prime Minister dumped the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and inducted Reliance Defence Limited as Dassault’s offset partner. It referred to then Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s remark on the eve of PM’s visit to France in March 2015 that the talks between Dassault and HAL on the deal were ongoing and that it has little bearing on the PM’s trip to the European country.
However, the Congress party’s constant attack on the government over the deal claiming foul play and even demanding a JPC probe has backfired. The newspaper’s headline was seen as an admission of guilt by the Congress over its involvement in the Bofors scams that took place during Rajiv Gandhi’s regime. It is interesting that the party that has always maintained that the Bofors was not a scam, equates the deal signed between India and Sweden with the Rafale deal signed between India and France. If so, then equating the Rafale with Bofors in its mouthpiece is a clear admission that the deal between India and France is not a scam, or that Bofors was.
Meanwhile, the BJP took no time to attack the Congress and claimed that the reference to Bofors is an admission of guilt. The party also asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clarify the party’s stand over the matter.
Participating in a debate on the no-confidence motion against the Modi government in the Lok Sabha earlier this month, Rahul Gandhi had claimed that the price of the deal was hiked after PM’s visit to France and accused the government of favouring a private firm. However, according to the government’s argument, the details of the deal can’t be put in the public domain due to a secrecy clause signed in 2008 between India and France when the Congress-led UPA was in the power.