Shiv Sena - a disgruntled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally in the Centre and Maharashtra, on Saturday described the Rafale deal as the “father of Bofors” and said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s importance in the national politics had increased after the singlehandedly raising the issue.
In an article published in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, senior party leader Sanjay Raut said that those who once accused Sonia Gandhi’s relatives of receiving kickbacks worth Rs 65 crore in the Bofors deal were in power now. “Today, they are accused of pocketing Rs 700 crore in the Rafale jet deal. Rafale is the father of Bofors.”
Taking a dig at the BJP over Francois Hollande’s reported claims on the deal, Raut asked the saffron party whether it will term the former French president a supporter the Congress president or an “anti-national”.
Raut said that it was laughable the way BJP alleged that the Congress president’s criticism of the deal was akin to “speaking in the words of Pakistan”.
“The same allegations were levelled against the Congress during the Bofors deal (in late 1980s). Was it then not helping Pakistan? Those in power term Bofors a scandal... However, they are not ready to believe Rafale is also a scam.”
The Shiv Sena MP emphasised that the importance of the Congress chief in the politics of the nation had increased after he singlehandedly took on the ruling party over the Rafale deal.
“In the country, only Rahul Gandhi was speaking against the Rafale deal, while all other political parties kept mum. Thus, Rahul is now getting more importance in the politics of the nation,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Led by the Gandhi scion, the Opposition parties have been attacking the BJP government over the Rafale deal, alleging it was procuring 36 Rafale jets from France at an exorbitantly high cost.
The government has denied the charge, arguing that it was getting the jets cheaper than what the previous UPA dispensation had negotiated.
(With PTI inputs)