Rafale row a diversionary tactic: Jaitley

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday accused the Congress of indulging in “diversion’’ on the Rafale deal as it had little else to counter the Narendra Modi government.

“It has manufactured the issue of the Rafale deal. The issue is failing to cut much ice. It’s a Government to Government agreement with no private group involved. It involves national security and it is the armed forces which have preferred this aircraft for its improved combat ability,” Mr. Jaitley wrote on Tuesday. “The UPA Ministers also never disclosed the cost breakup of the weaponry because that is not in larger national interest. The supplier/ OEM manufacturers of defence equipment appoint their own offset manufacturers. The Government has nothing to do with it.”

He accused the Congress of having tried such a strategy in the past too.

“In 1989, there was an outrage in the whole country against the Congress Party and its leadership on the Bofors issue. The Congress Party’s strategists invented a counter strategy of diversion by creating a fake issue. A bank account in St. Kitts was created in the name of Shri V.P. Singh’s son so that the Congress could now have a face saving argument – if we are corrupt, so are you,” he said.

“In 1999, when the NDA led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in the backdrop of the Kargil conflict, was likely to sweep the poll, and the Congress Party was faced with a massive defeat, it manufactured an issue of sugar export to Pakistan. Some two dozen press conferences on the issue were organised to question the Government’s commitment to nationalism. The truth of the allegation was that a mid-level unknown Chandni Chowk trader had been exporting an OGL item -sugar to Pakistan. Needless to say that the Congress lost the election badly,” he said.

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