Chidambaram questions BJP on limiting Rafale jets procurement

Chidambaram questions BJP on limiting Rafale jets procurement


Sivaganga, Oct 1: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has posed three questions to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, explaining why the Congress is demanding a JPC probe into the Rafeal deal.

In a series of tweets , he has said: Defence Minister asks "why should I order an inquiry into the Rafale purchase?" Here are the three TOP reasons.

1) Why did the government scrap the earlier agreement on 126 aircraft that had been approved by every authority including the Indian Air Force?

(2) Why did the government not suggest the name of HAL as the Offset Partner or at least as one of the Offset Partners?

(3) If the price negotiated by the NDA government was indeed cheaper by 9 per cent, why did the government decide to buy only 36 aircraft and not all the 126 agreed earlier?

“If the Defence Minister wants a 4th or 5th or 6th reason, we are ready with a DOZEN reasons”, he has said.

Talking to newsmen at Karaikudi, here on the sidelines of interaction with party office bearers on the Congress manifesto, Chidambaram, who heads the Congress manifesto committee, said “this is simple arithmetic. When we find that the price of a commodity, we proposed to buy has come down, we will buy more of the commodity taking advantage of the fall in price but the BJP government has done the other way around,” he said. “This question will arise even to a Class V student,” he said and demanded explanation for buying only 36 aircraft, instead of 126.

The former Union Minister said it was a matter of suspicion that the government has ignored the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in the deal.

Answering a question, Mr Chidambaram said he had been pointing out the ‘blunders’ of the BJP government on the economic front in his weekly columns and the people were convinced that the government was incompetent in managing the Indian economy. Demonetisation, spiralling prices of petrol and diesel and the record fall of Indian rupee against US dollar bore testimony to it, he said.

To a question, he said the Congress was part of the DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu and the party would be happy if more parties joined the front. On AIADMK’s protest against the DMK and the Congress for their ‘complicity’ in the Eelam war in Sri Lanka, Chidambaram said “the AIADMK leaders were nowhere during the war and do not even know what exactly happened.”

Noting that that the country has seen three defence ministers in the last four years and four months after the BJP came to power, Mr. Chidambaram said none seemed to have done anything worth. “Their only achievement is buying 36 aircraft instead of 126 when seven squadrons in the Indian Air Force were in dire need of 18 aircraft each,” he said. “Don’t you doubt when the government is purchasing aircraft only for two squadrons,” he asked.