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Parrikar needs to demonstrate loyalty to PM by attacking me: Rahul on Rafale deal row


ANI Politics
Goa Chief Minister Parrikar needs to demonstrate his loyalty to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by attacking me over Rafale deal controversy, said Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a letter sent to Parrikar on Wednesday.
The Congress chief's letter comes in a response to Parrikar's letter, wherein the latter asserted that the Rafale issue was not even mentioned during the five minutes that Rahul spent at his office in Goa on Tuesday.
The Gandhi scion on Wednesday claimed that during their meeting, Parrikar "clearly denied" any involvement in the new Rafale fighter jet deal "orchestrated" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "benefit" Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani.
Following this, Parrikar said that he felt let down that the Congress president used the courtesy visit to him for 'petty political games'.
"I totally empathise with Parrikar Ji's situation & wish him well. He's under immense pressure from the PM after our meeting in Goa and needs to demonstrate his loyalty by attacking me. Pressure that forced you to take unusual step of demonstrating your loyalty to PM and his cronies by attacking me uncharacteristic manner," Rahul said in the letter.
Clearing his stand on the controversy that surfaced after the meeting of the two, Rahul further said: "Your (Parrikar) leaked letter has forced me to clarify my position on this unfortunate and unnecessary controversy. I have not shared any details of my conversation with you when we met in Goa yesterday. In my two speeches since we met, I have referred to what is already in the public domain."
Rahul also went on to say that it is a fact that in April 2015, while Parrikar was inaugurating a fish market in Goa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Rafale deal in France with the then French President, Hollande. "It is also a fact that you clearly stated to the press that you had no idea about the new deal engineered by the Prime Minister. This has been widely reported in all sections of the media," the Congress president stressed. "My visit to you was strictly personal and driven purely by my empathy for your situation. You will no doubt recall that I also called you when you were undergoing treatment in the United States to enquire after your health and wish you well," he added while wishing Parrikar a speedy recovery. Interestingly, soon after a private meeting held between the former defence minister and Congress president, senior Goa Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar had said on Wednesday that the meeting between Gandhi and Parrikar lasted five minutes and the issue of 'Rafale audio tapes' was not discussed.The Congress party, earlier this month, had released an audio clip claiming that Parrikar possessed all files related to the deal.Congress party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had claimed that the audio clip had the voice of Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane speaking to another person about the deal.
According to the Congress claim, Rane, in the audio, said Parrikar, who was the Defence Minister when the Rafale deal was signed in 2016 between India and France, had "all files related to the deal in his bedroom."
Later, Rane hit back at the Congress, asserting that the audio tape was doctored and Parrikar made no mention about Rafale deal and its documents.

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First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 11:09 PM IST

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