Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday claimed that the controversy over the Rafale aircraft deal will be a “non-issue” for the voter during the Lok Sabha elections. Goyal told media persons in Mumbai that the Opposition’s allegations of corruption in the deal are a figment of its imagination, The Hindu reported.
“They can show whichever documents they want, but the people of India have full faith in the leadership provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Goyal asserted in response to a question about the deal. “At the least, the allegations are only keeping the Opposition busy and away from the real issues of public interest. This is and will be a non-issue for the voters.”
The finance minister spoke to media persons after launching “Bharat ke mann ki baat, Modi ke saath”, a month-long exercise to incorporate people’s suggestions in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the 2019 General Elections, News18 reported. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar were also present.
A report in The Hindu last week suggested that the Ministry of Defence was unhappy about the “parallel negotiations” the Prime Minister’s Office carried on with France, when the new agreement for 36 jets was being signed in 2016.
On Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan’s assertion that he would like Priyanka Gandhi to campaign in Maharashtra, Goyal said the BJP welcomes it. “Now it is accepted that their party president [Rahul Gandhi] has failed,” he said. “So they must make efforts. They should find someone else if she too fails. It is unfortunate for the country that dynastic politics has reached a level where they do not have any leader beyond the family.”
Goyal also attacked the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. He claimed that the Trinamool Congress has created anarchy in the state. He alleged that the state government blocked preparations for even the prime minister’s rallies, while not making arrangements for millions of people who wanted to come and hear him talk.
However, Goyal parried a question about Twitter officials refusing to attend a Parliamentary committee meeting on Monday. He said Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will decide the course of action.