Nagpur: Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram said on Saturday that the two most controversial decisions of the Narendra Modi government — the Rafale aircraft deal and demonetisation — would be the main election campaign issues for the Congress since the government has ‘not come out with facts and figures on the actual price of the aircraft’.
“Why is the government shy about revealing the price of aircraft and taking as a shield the Secrecy Clause, which does not exist,” Mr Chidambaram asked at a press conference in Nagpur. He also said the French government has clearly stated that if the Government of India reveals the prices, they (France) do not have a problem.
The UPA government, during its tenure, had signed an agreement with the French government to procure 18 Rafale aircraft in a fly-away condition and the remaining 108 with the transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautical Company (HAL) to manufacture the aircraft.
Mr Chidambaram said that, surprisingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a visit, signed another deal at a whopping Rs 60,145 crore for the purchase of Rafale aircraft, thereby scrapping the deal signed during UPA regime. The price per aircraft during the UPA tenure was approximately Rs 516 crore but jumped to Rs 1,670 crore without any justification, the minister claimed.
He said the HAL was also denied an opportunity to train its engineers on the transferred technology. He wanted to know who was telling the truth on the Rafale deal, the French government or the NDA government.
On demonetisation, Mr Chidambaram reiterated that the move was meant for money-laundering. “Why was the exercise undertaken? It was only to convert the black money of a few individuals into white money. Who will be held responsible for more than 100 loss of human lives and harassment to the poor and needy? The Modi government needs to answer these questions, Mr Chidambaram said.