Modi Cornered: Not Just Congress; TMC, CPI(M), BJD and Even Shiv Sena Demanded JPC Probe on Rafale Deal
"Let there be a JPC probe and the truth come out,” said the Shiv Sena.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is being cornered. In the Lok Sabha session on January 2, other political parties — Trinamool Congress (TMC), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM) and even ally Shiv Sena — bombarded the Modi government, asking for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Rafale deal. The Congress party, of course, has been asking for a JPC probe since the alleged irregularities in the deal surfaced. But with other parties entering the fray with the same demand, things look tough for the ruling party.
“We don’t want to hear what happened in the past” – TMC
TMC leader Sougata Roy said, “Jaitley has lost his touch. We are not bothered about today. We don’t want to hear what happened in the past (in context of Jaitley mentioning Bofors deal).” He made the statement after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made a correlation between Bofors and Rafale, in response to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s hard-hitting questions in the Lower House.
“There needs to be a closer look at the deal” – BJD
Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which had continued to maintain silence on the controversy surrounding the Rafale deal, too, stepped into the fray. BJP leader Kailash Narayan Singh Deo said, “Questions of probity and questions of procedure do exist. Questions arise on pricing. It is well known that Qatar has bought the same planes at a much cheaper price.”
Also Read: Rafale Files In Parrikar’s Bedroom? Shocking Audio Tape Of Minister Leaked (Hear Audio Tape, Read Transcript)
“Under the UPA, technology was to be transferred. The government should come with a white paper on why technology transfer was not done,” said Deo. Lastly, making an oblique reference to the JPC probe, Deo added, “There needs to be a closer look at the deal. People of India should know what went behind (the decision).”
“Those who cannot run the Delhi metro, how can they fly an aircraft?” – CPI(M)
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP, Mohammed Salim, too, slammed the BJP’s indifference to have a JPC stating that the ruling party was not working for the country’s self-reliance, but for “self and reliance.” Salim also mocked the BJP and said, “Those who cannot run the Delhi metro, how can they fly an aircraft?”
“We are transparent. Why should we be scared.” – Shiv Sena
The sharpest attack on the BJP, however, was launched by its ally — and constant critic — the Shiv Sena. “We are transparent. Why we should be scared. Our government is good, it is not corrupt, then, why should we be scared? Let there be a JPC probe and the truth come out,” said Sena MP Arvind Sawant. He added, “Why was the HAL deprived of the opportunity of building Rafale? Its former MD is on record to have said that the HAL has the know how to build these planes.”
Making a reference to the Bofors deal, Sawant said Bofors was a good gun but the deal was bad. “Same kind of allegations are being levelled now,” he said, adding, “People say Rafale is good (aircraft) but deal is bad.”
Despite these calls for a JPC probe by four important parties, the media cycle was dominated by Rahul Gandhi and Arun Jaitley. While the Congress chief was denied Speaker’s permission to play the audiotape of Goa minister allegedly saying that Manohar Parrikar has Rafale files in his ‘bedroom’, Gandhi had posed hard-hitting questions to PM Modi. In his reply, the finance minister had attacked Gandhi and the Congress party and refused the demand for a JPC probe.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s conspicuous absence from the house was mocked by the Opposition.
Also Read: BJP Ally Shiv Sena Backs Opposition Demand for JPC Probe Into Rafale Deal