Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Rahul Gandhi to meet HAL staff in Bengaluru

10 Oct 2018, 20:55 GMT+10

New Delhi [India], Oct 10 (ANI): Congress president Rahul Gandhi will fly to Bengaluru on October 13 to hold a meeting with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Employee Association.

HAL has been in the news of late owing to the ongoing controversy over the Rafale fighter-jet deal with France. The Gandhi scion has time and again alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government opted to make Reliance Defence the Offset partner in the deal, thus ousting the government-run HAL from it.

Last month, Gandhi trained guns at Modi stating that he has betrayed India, and has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.

"The Prime Minister personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to Fran

ois Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani. The Prime Minister has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers," he had tweeted.

The Congress president's post came after Former President of France Fran

ois Hollande issued a statement claiming that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal. However, Hollande later backtracked and said only Dassault could comment on the partnership.

Responding to the allegations, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month had stated that it is because of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UP) government that HAL could not be the part of the deal as they delayed the negotiation.

"The deal did not happen during the UPA (regime). Also, one more thing that did not happen during the UPA regime was the fact that between Dassault and HAL they could not agree on production terms. As a result, HAL and Rafale could not go together. Doesn't that very clearly say who didn't go together with HAL? The agreement did not happen during the UPA regime. So, isn't it obvious that the interest of HAL could have really been taken care of even during that time? Neither HAL's interest nor Indian Air Force's (IAF) interest was taken care of by the UPA government," she had stated.

The Rafale controversy has been on the boil for a long time now, with the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress trading barbs over the issue. The BJP had even alleged that Congress scrapped the deal as a firm belonging to Rober Vadra, son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, was not made a part of it.(ANI)

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