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Was Rafale deal meant to strengthen IAF or industrialist: Shiv Sena asks PM

The Sena further alleged that the definitions of nationalism and patriotism stood "changed" under the current BJP-led regime

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Rafale, Rafale jet

The Saturday said Prime Minister should answer whether the was meant to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist.

The party's remarks came after a report in The Hindu newspaper Friday claimed that the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to "parallel discussions" conducted by the PMO during the negotiations over the Rs 59,000 crore between India and France.

The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana' said Modi gave a speech on "patriotism" in Parliament on Thursday and defended the deal. "But the very next day, the 'black page' (document) came out, which silenced those raising patriotic slogans and thumping benches in the House," it said.

Without naming anyone, the said that Modi was expected to answer if the deal was finalised to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist.

Referring to president Rahul Gandhi's constant criticism of the government on the Rafale issue, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party also asked why the opposition should be blamed for it.

"The opponents may perish (politically), but truth will stay alive," it said.

"The prime minister made the oft-repeated allegation (in Parliament) that the does not want strengthening of the defence services. And the next day, documents surface, showing how extreme Modi's personal interest in the deal was. What to make out of it?" the Sena asked.

"Modi was directly 'dealing' in the Rafale transactions. Key people like defence minister, defence secretary were kept away from it. Modi himself took decisions on issues like prices of Rafale (planes) and who would get its contract. Hence, he will have to face allegations and criticism," it claimed.

"How does seeking explanations on issues of security become criticism of the country," the party asked.

Modi had Thursday said in Parliament that the opposition could criticise him and the BJP, but not the nation over the issue.

ALSO READ: Shekhar Gupta: Modi's slipping on the Rafale slope

The Sena on Saturday further alleged that the definitions of nationalism and patriotism stood "changed" under the current BJP-led regime.

"Those who sing paeans of are patriots, while those raising questions about its pricing are being labelled as traitors now," it claimed.

ALSO READ: Defence Ministry note objected to 'parallel' PMO-France Rafale talks: Rahul

The BJP's warring ally added that people of the country would keep asking questions till they get a satisfactory answer on why a plane costing Rs 500 crore was bought at Rs 1,600 crore.

It also said that Modi had ruled the country single-handedly for the past four-and-half years. "Yet, blaming the for issues such as price rise and corruption is akin to shrouding own (the government's) failures," it said.

First Published: Sat, February 09 2019. 12:05 IST
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