The ‘defence scams’ were tapped in the past by political rivals to push many seemingly strong central governments to tight spots. If defence minister-turned-rebel VP Singh led Opposition attacks on the Bofors deal to cripple the Rajiv Gandhi regime, the Congress raked up “the Tehelka expose” to force resignations of then defence minister George Fernandes and then BJP president Bangaru Laxman, putting the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in a spot.
Sources said Congress will intensify its Rafale campaign in Parliament, Gujarat elections and across the states and will eventually allege “kickbacks” and Parliamentary committee probe into the aircraft deal. Incidentally, BJP members in a Parliamentary sub-committee have been seeking a re-look at the Bofors deal, seen part of the Centre’s plot to revive the issue that haunted Congress in the past.
Congress leaders are also in touch with some “like-minded Opposition parties” to make the Rafale deal their joint plank against “corruption” and “compromise of national interests”.
Despite the defence minister rubbishing the Congress charge, the latter insists the ruling establishment has failed to answer three questions: First, whether the Modi government agreed to purchase the Rafale aircraft at a price higher than what UPA regime had negotiated. Second, did PM take CCS permission before announcing purchase in Paris? And, third, Why PM bypassed experienced HAL? By alleging the PM had “unilaterally” decided on the deal by “bypassing” the Cabinet committees by “doing away” technolog y-transfer clause, Congress is clearly targeting Modi himself.
It is also questioning the professional credentials of the Indian company chosen to manufacture the aircraft, making the larger plots clear at a time both the government and Opposition are readying for the coming electoral battles.
Source : timesofindia