Countering allegations of a scam in the Rafale Deal in an interview to ANI, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called his former National Democratic Alliance (NDA) colleagues Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha as ‘career nationalists’ in an oblique reference. He has also said that allegations of corruption in Rafale deal were made to defame a clean government provided by the NDA.
Further, he questioned as to why the government under the previous Union Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime had delayed the purchase of multi-role aircraft indefinitely after the need for such a purchase was well established after the Kargil War.
Regarding the debate on price, Jaitley said that several factors including foreign exchange, price increase due to time and the configuration of aircraft were involved. He said that the Congress had reduced the debate to a “primary school debate”.
He said, “Every fact that they have said on pricing is factually false, I repeat, every fact is false and not one fact is true. Mr Rahul Gandhi himself has given seven different prices in different speeches with regard to the Rafale, that is the 2007 offer.”
When questioned about the comments of his own former NDA colleagues, he said that the two people in question were ‘career nationalists’ who would have spoken in a different tone if they were a part of NDA. The comment has been interpreted as an oblique reference to Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha.
He said, “They haven't looked at the file. You see, those NDA colleagues, if they were in NDA, would be speaking a different language. Our tragedy in the NDA has been, particularly in the BJP, we have had a fair share of career nationalists. They are nationalists and with us as long as it suits their career.”
When asked for his party’s strategy regarding Congress’s attempt to make Rafale deal an election, Jaitley said, “The falsehood of Rahul Gandhi, making truth into a victim and compromising national security will well be a national issue.”
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