Nationalist Congress Party parliamentarian Supriya Sule on Friday attempted to downplay her father and party chief Sharad Pawar’s remark that the people of the country do not doubt Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intentions regarding the Rafale deal. Her comments came hours after the party’s Lok Sabha MP Tariq Anwar quit the party in protest against Pawar’s comments to a Marathi news channel.
Sule said it was disappointing that people do not remember that Pawar had also raised doubts about the defence agreement. She tweeted the three questions Pawar had asked the government. The NCP chief reportedly questioned the increase in price of the fighter jets. “If such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a joint parliamentary committee?”
Pawar reportedly pointed out that the Bharatiya Janata Party had raised questions about both price and specifications during the Bofors scam. “Then why are they hiding behind artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements?” he asked during the interview.
Pawar said the Opposition’s demand to know the technical details of the fighter jets “made no sense”. He, however, added that there would be no harm in the government discloses the aircraft’s prices.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel said that Pawar “has not given a clean chit to anybody” in the Rafale row. “The Nationalist Congress Party insists on a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Rafale deal and demands that the price of the fighter jet be made public,” he said, according to PTI.
On Anwar’s resignation, Patel said: “The party doesn’t get impacted just because somebody joins it or leaves it. It is sad to note that after working with us for so many years, he [Anwar] decided to quit without even informing us. It is very surprising because he has based his decision on an interview by Pawar to a news channel.”
Congress calls it a ‘conspiracy’
The Congress said that media reports which suggested that Pawar had given a “clean chit” to Modi were “false and unfounded”. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that there was a conspiracy to create a rift between the allies, PTI reported.
Surjewala said that Pawar spoke to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and denied that his statement implied support for Modi on the Rafale deal.
Bharatiya Janata Party Amit Shah had on Thursday praised Pawar for his stand on the matter and for “placing national interests above party politics and speaking the truth”.