Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for stooping too low for his petty political gains even as he asserted that there was no mention of Rafale fighter plane issue during his five-minute meeting when the Opposition party chief came calling him at Goa Assembly complex at Panaji.
In a letter to Rahul, asked the Congress chief to put out the truth and not to use his visit to an ailing person to “feed political opportunism”. The Goa Chief Minister who is recovering from his illness said the Congress leader has used his visit for “petty political gains”.
His letter came a day after Rahul targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversial Rafale deal, claiming that Parrikar, who is a former Defence Minister, 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 Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani,” the Congress leader told a booth-level party workers meeting in Kochi. His comments had come hours after he met Parrikar at the Goa Assembly complex in Panaji.
In his letter, Parrikar said he feels “let down that you have used this visit for your petty political gains. In the five minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, not did we discuss anything about/related to it.”
The Rafale fighter jet deal with France has generated a great deal of political heat with Congress trying to turn tables on the Modi-Government, accusing it of favouring a business tycoon and ignoring claims of public Sector Unit HAL for the offset deals. The Congress has also accused of the Government of paying higher prices for the fighter jets than what was arrived at during the UPA regime.
As against Congress accusations, Supreme Court had last year given a clean chit to the government on the issue. As Lok Sabha polls are barely three-months away, Rafale has become a political football with both the parties seeking to score points over each other.
Parrikar was Defence Minister when the Rafale deal was under process and before he was moved to Goa as its Chief Minister. Congress and Rahul have alleged that Parrikar was in possession of the information that could nail the Modi-Government’s alleged wrong doing in the Rafale deal. BJP has in turn sought to describe Rahul as a habitual liar who is deliberately refusing to see the true facts of the deal.