NCP President, Sharad Pawar, ally of the Congress, has taken a different view on the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rafale deal. While Congress leaders were calling Modi “thief”, alleging scam on the fighter plane deal, Pawar in an interview to a language news channel said “people still don’t have a doubt on Modi’s intentions.”
Pawar, whose comments came as a shot in the arm for Bharatiya Janata Party, also disagreed with the demand for technical details of the deal by Congress and other opposition parties. However he agreed with the demand to reveal the price of the aircraft being procured from France.
The Rafale deal and the statement of former President of France, Hollande, that the suggestion of Reliance Defence for collaboration with Dassault came from Prime Minister Modi became a big controversy and embarrassment to the BJP and Prime Minister Modi. Even the current President Emmanuel Macron avoided a direct answer on the matter stating that he was not in the picture, according to some news reports on which Congress has been continuing its attack on Prime Minister Modi.
A former defense minister and an important leader of the opposition camp, Sharad Pawar, giving a clean chit must have come as a great relief to the beleaguered BJP, now facing a barrage of questions on a daily basis on the French fighter plane deal. Incidentally Pawar is a strong ally of the Congress and plans to fight the parliamentary polls of 2019 jointly and informal discussions on seat adjustments between the two have begun. Pawar is also a member of the Grand Alliance (Mahaghatbhandan) of the non-BJP opposition parties determined to dislodge the BJP from power at the Centre.