Day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed that late Go Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar quit Modi government over his disagreement in Rafale fighter jet deal, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has hit back and said that, “giving statements like this after his (Parrikar’s) death is not right.” He also said that, “He (Parrikar) was such a man that 8 days before his death he had said that he should get the chance to campaign for Modi ji in at least 2 rallies as there won't be a PM like him.”
The Maharashtra Chief Minister also remined Pawar about Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi’s ‘crass joke’ where he wanted to imply similar thing. However, Parrikar had replied to Gandhi’s any such claim. “Rahul ji too had attempted to say something like this earlier. It was a crass joke but Manohar ji was alive then, so he could give a reply,” Fadnavis said.
On January 29, Gandhi had visited ailing Parrikar. At that time, he had said that this was just a courtesy visit. But later, he claimed that the "Goa audio tapes", cited by the Congress to attack the Centre on the Rafale issue, were authentic and Parrikar was in possession of "explosive secrets" that gave him power over Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Day later, Parrikar slammed Congress president for stating that he was not involved in the new Rafale deal. The ailing chief minister had said that he feels let down that the Congress president used the meeting for his petty political gains.
"Reading media reports covering your visit to my office has caused me distress. It is reported in media today that you have said quoting me that I was nowhere in the process of procuring Rafale nor did I have any information then about it. I feel let down that you have used this visit for your petty political gains. In the 05 minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, nor did we discuss anything about/related to it. Nothing whatsoever about Rafale was even mentioned in your meeting with me," Parrikar wrote in the letter to Gandhi.
Parrikar, who took over as defence minister in November 2014, was sworn in as Goa chief minister on March 14, 2017. He died on March 17 this year after a long battle with a pancreatic ailment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.