Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jaipal Reddy has accused Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of trying to blackmail Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Rafale deal to retain his post, PTI reported on Friday.
Reddy was addressing the party’s concluding function at the Jan Akrosh Rally in Margao on Thursday. The Congress has been staging rallies across the state claiming that Parrikar’s poor health has affected the functioning of the government. Parrikar has been suffering from pancreatic cancer and has made very few public appearances since October.
Reddy demanded Parrikar’s resignation, saying he was “sticking” to the chief minister’s chair “like a leech”. “He [Parrikar] talks of morality,” ANI quoted Reddy as saying. “What morality is there of Parrikar who is sticking to the [chief minister’s] chair like a leech? I know he is in a position to blackmail Narendra Modi.”
“Parrikar as defence minister was not taken into confidence by the PM while signing the [Rafale] deal and the next day Parrikar was on record stating that since the prime minister had agreed, he would back him,” The Hindu quoted Reddy as saying. Parrikar was the defence minister in Modi’s cabinet when the Rafale deal was finalised, Reddy said.
Reddy reiterated his party’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the aircraft deal. “We are ready for discussion in Parliament, but we want JPC because it can ask for all the documents and call every officer, including Chiefs of Defence Forces and the Prime Minister, before it,” he said at a press conference at the Congress headquarters in Panaji.
The Supreme Court last week dismissed petitions seeking an inquiry into the government’s procurement of the fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation. The court said it was satisfied that the process for procurement had been complied with in the case of Rafale.