Holding a paper plane in hand as a replica of Rafale fighter jet, Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar on Saturday claimed that his statement “he can make better Rafale” in Lok Sabha was misquoted. Speaking to ANI, Jakhar clarified that he used the paper plane in the Lower House on Friday just to seek attention of the members and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government towards the high-profile Defence contract.
“My statement was misquoted. I used the replica of Rafale fighter jet to convey a message to the present government that nation’s security is not a child’s play. Businessman Anil Ambani has zero experience of making any kind of aircraft, much less a fighter jet which is going to defend our borders. Hence, I said, if a person without any experience can make a fighter jet, then I can also do that. We will not let anyone play with the national security and lives of our brave soldiers,” Jakhar said.
Jakhar also added that the Congress Party has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the alleged scam in Rafale fighter jet deal. “The Congress party demands that a Joint Parliamentary Committee should be constituted to investigate the Defence contract. For BJP, security of the nation could be a deal but for us it is not. For us it is a matter of national security. BJP is betraying the trust of nation and its people,” he added.
On Friday, before the Congress members walked out from the Lok Sabha after a protest demanding the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate the alleged scam in the Rafale deal, the Punjab Congress Chief demanded in Parliament that he be given the Rafale fighter jet contract. The Punjab Congress Chief showed the paper aircraft during the Zero Hour as Congress members, carrying placards reading ‘Modi’s Rafale Gate’ and ‘JPC set up karo’, assembled in front of the Speaker and raised slogans demanding probe in the alleged scam.
“Madam, I want permission to present the replica of the Rafale on the table of the House. Please permit that. I can make a better Rafale than (an industrialist) who has no experience in manufacturing one,” Jakhar said. As the day began, several Opposition parties held a protest near the Gandhi statue inside Parliament over the Rafale deal.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi also joined the protestors outside Parliament House. Holding placards, Members of Parliament from various opposition parties, like Congress, Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Aam Aadmi Party, raised slogans demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) be formed to probe the purchase of Rafale fighter planes from France.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government signed the deal with France-based Dassault Aviation to purchase 36 Rafale jets in 2016. The Congress party has time and again cornered the government over the defence pact, alleging irregularities in it and demanding the government to disclose the price of the jets.