New Delhi, Jan 31 : Dismissing the charges by the BJP that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was politicizing his visit to BJP leader and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Goa on Tuesday, the Congress on Wednesday said that Mr Parrikar had himself been caught in a ‘catch 22 situation on more than one occasion on the new deal for Rafale fighter jets.
Talking to reporters here, AICC spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, responding to BJP president Amit Shah targeting Rahul Gandhi for claiming during his address to the Indian Youth Congress gathering at Talkatora stadium on Wednesday that former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the 'new deal, said,’’Mr Rahul Gandhi has said that it was a personal visit. However, Mr Manohar Parrikar, on at least three occasions earlier, was caught in a ‘catch 22’ situation on the new rafale deal when he could not answer as to how a routine visit to France by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was turned into a ‘deal visit’.
He has gone on record to state that he was not aware of why the deal was signed. By raising the issue, Mr Gandhi is fulfilling his responsibility towards the country.’’
Rahul has come under attack from the BJP after he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal by claiming that former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the 'new deal.'
"Friends, the ex-defence minister Mr Parrikar clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the new deal that was orchestrated by Mr Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani," he told a booth-level party workers meeting at Talkatora stadium here.
Earlier, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of using their previous day’s meeting for “petty political gains”. Parrikar denied that the two leaders had discussed the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Parrikar was the defence minister when the deal was signed in 2016. The Narendra Modi-led government had in 2015 replaced the former Congress-led government’s deal for 126 jets with a new agreement for 36 aircraft.
In a letter to the Congress leader, Mr Parrikar said he felt let down by his claims. “In the five minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, nor did we discuss anything about/related to it,” Parrikar wrote. “Nothing whatsoever about Rafale was even mentioned in your meeting with me.”
Parrikar said Gandhi had stooped low by making the claim and questioned the sincerity and purpose of his visit. “I thought your visit would give me your good wishes in that cause of serving our people,” he said. “Little did I know that you had other intentions.” (UNI)