NEW DELHI: A major controversy erupted a day after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi visited ailing Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar while vacationing in the state. Coming down heavily on Rahul’s comment that the former defence minister had said he was not aware of the Rafale jet deal announced by Prime Minister Modi in Paris, Parrikar denied having discussed the issue at all and in a letter, accused the Congress leader of trying to derive political mileage from a personal visit.
Late on Wednesday night, Rahul issued a long and detailed denial on the issue and wrote back to Parrikar saying he had divulged nothing of their latest discussions and what he said was in public domain. He said he also “empathised” with Parrikar, whose sharp letter criticising him was written “under duress”.
Earlier, on Wednesday, while addressing a party conclave in Delhi, Rahul said, “Parrikar ji told me that when the deal was changed, the Prime Minister did not get the country’s defence minister on board.”
Parrikar hit back at Rahul within hours saying the Rafale issue was not discussed during their meeting.
Later, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “If this was discussed, Rahulji has placed it before you.”
She slammed Parrikar for “denying something he said”. Meanwhile, speaking at a conclave, Rahul also attacked Modi saying he removed former CBI chief Alok Verma fearing a probe in the Rafale deal. He said the truth in the scam would come out one day. Rahul also slammed Modi saying he was incapable in handling the two big crises facing the country — jobs and farm distress.
“I want you to take this message to the people: India has an employment and agricultural crisis, and Narendra Modi has showed that he is not capable to solve this crisis,” he said.
“When asked about jobs, Mr. Modi tells them to make pakodas. You tell farmers to repay their loans, but have you told Anil Ambani to pay back loans worth `45,000 crore,” the Congress chief said highlighting the Rafale fighter jet deal.