I have known a few people who have been to the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Upon their return, they showed greater calmness, composure and reformed behaviour.
The Mansarovar trip is meant to make a seeker more peaceful. The opposite happened here. (Photo: ANI)
In Rahul Gandhi’s case, however, the yatra seems to have boomeranged. For Rahul Gandhi in the last two weeks has unleashed the worst form of shoot and scoot politics and abusive behaviour, lowering the political discourse like never before.
Without any evidence of financial impropriety whatsoever, the Congress has been on a relentless #MeraPMchorhai campaign. While I can understand their desperation to turn the tables at the vaguest behest (after all, it is the Congress which is synonymous with all defence scams in India, starting with the Jeep Scam immediately after Independence), to do so by concocting facts - and with this juvenile slanderous intensity - is bound to be suicidal for the Congress.
Not many are amused at the fall in political discourse. (Photo: Screengrab)
The "thief" attack on PM Modi has actually left the country enraged, with people seriously wondering who is a thief.
Let us try to decode "Who is a thief?” by considering two situations.
A) A man out on bail for serious financial fraud?
B) A man who, in the interests of national security, expeditiously formalised a defence deal which had been pending for over 10 years?
A) A man who, despite being a public representative, was incommunicado for nearly three months in 2015?
B) A man who has not taken a single day off since 2001 and all of whose movements of the last 17 years can be tracked on the public domain?
It is a distasteful joke when Rahul Gandhi calls PM Modi a "chor".
No wonder then that a seasoned, sensible politician like Sharad Pawar does not want to associate himself with Rahul Gandhi’s diatribe.
Veteran politician Sharad Pawar disapproves of the language used against the PM. (Photo: PTI)
No wonder then that the so-called Mahagathbandhan is depleting in strength every day rather than growing.
But, let us come back to the Rafale Deal.
It is sad that most of the Congress allegations stem out of ignorance or illiteracy. There are three main issues involved here and all of these have been addressed satisfactorily.
The first issue was regarding the price.
In March 2018, the minister of state for defence, Mr Subhash Bhamre, had specified the base price for an aircraft procured under the deal. I do understand that Rahul Gandhi, often being an absentee MP, may not have been present in Parliament then. But for the government to reveal the price of a loaded aircraft would be fraught with risks as that would also mean revealing India-specific enhancements.
No. Parliament is not a joke. (Photo: Screengrab)
Yet, if Rahul Gandhi is so keen, he must seek an appointment with the defence minister and try and understand the issues involved. To create anarchy in front of the country over issues he is possibly not equipped to fully absorb is simply time-pass politics.
The second issue was – why Anil Ambani’s company?
Now, I repeat for the umpteenth time that Reliance is one of the many offset partners. A significant portion of the offsets are also allocated to DRDO for transfer of technology – a fact the Congress deliberately chooses to ignore. HAL’s exclusion and Reliance’s inclusion are entirely unrelated. Even the Congress knows it – but chooses to unabashedly spread lies.
The third issue was – why 36 aircraft, and not 126?
First of all, it is amusing that this question should be raised by a party whose government was incapable of finalising the deal in 10 years. We all know that the UPA’s inordinate delay led to a situation where the NDA had to act urgently. If the budget and cost-effectiveness favoured 36 fully loaded aircrafts, so be it. Moreover, in February 2014, the then-Defence Minister AK Antony is himself quoted as having said that the government did not have the budget for 126 aircrafts.
Defence acquisition delays under UPA are legend. The brunt of this has fallen on the NDA. (Photo: PTI)
I have studied the Rafale Deal in extensive detail and I am convinced that if at all an investigation is required, it is for the period 2012-14, when despite supposedly getting a fantabulous deal, the UPA government, for mysterious reasons, chose not to move on it.
Even as Rahul Gandhi goes all out unabashedly spreading allegations now, the people of the country have taken note of his abusive behaviour against an honest PM.
The junta will teach Rahul Gandhi a strong lesson in 2019 by making sure that the Congress party does not go beyond its 2014 tally.