END ACRIMONY

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Oct 2018 12:13:09

THE refusal of the honourable Supreme Court to issue notices on the two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) questioning the correctness of the Rafale deal, and direction to the Government to provide details of the deal -- sans pricing and technical matters -- in a sealed envelope, makes it clear that the judges have accepted the legitimacy of the process the Government has followed in approaching the high-profile deal about which much acrimony is being witnessed in the political arena. Very rightly, Defence Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman has described the Supreme Court’s approach as a victory for the Government and a setback to the Congress-led Opposition that has been accusing the Government of corruption in the Rafale negotiations. The case will continue for sometime, with almost a foregone conclusion that the deal will be completed without much disturbance. In such a situation, it would not be preposterous to expect the Opposition to end the unnecessary acrimony on the issue. 

 

Time and again, the Government has explained to the nation all the details of the Rafale deal except, of course, sensitive information. Time and again, the Government has insisted that the deal that is being finalised currently is far better than the one thought of by the previous Government. The common people also appear convinced that there is no hanky-panky in the Rafale deal. Despite all this, the Congress party has continued to blast the Government for almost imaginary corruption.


Now that the honourable Supreme Court has asked for details of decision-making, there is reason to believe that things will fall at right places in no time. It is against this background that we appeal to the Opposition parties to put the Rafale controversy behind and move on. True, this is an election year and the Opposition felt that the alleged corruption in Rafale deal will be a good stick to beat the Government with and embarrass it. Initially, the Government might have felt a little embarrassed with the mounting attack from the Opposition. However, subsequently it became clear that the Opposition did not have much substance in its allegations.


The Opposition, therefore, must realise that it would be futile to continue with senseless allegations that only spoil the atmosphere and achieve nothing. In fact, the next elections to the Lok Sabha should be a time when many other more important national issues get national attention, much beyond Rafale deal and much against non-existent corruption. All those issues must be brought out so that the nation will get an opportunity to decide what is right and what is not right. Those are the issues related to agriculture, to education, to economy, to public health. Though the Government has done well on most of these fronts, the Opposition can raise questions and seek popular support.


Most unfortunate aspect of the current domestic situation is that the Opposition really does not have many issues with which to embarrass the Government. No matter that, Rafale deal cannot be an election issue as all the objections the Opposition is raising have lost their relevance. Defence acquisitions is an area in which very little is known to people outside the Government since a veil of secrecy engulfs all the negotiations. The Congress party did try to raise some issues on details, but fell flat on the face every time it did. It is against this overall background that we now appeal the Opposition to give up its senseless effort to embarrass the Government on Rafale deal.


Most unfortunately, Congress also tried to involve foreign elements in its anti-government campaign, though to no avail. Though the case is yet going on, the honourable Supreme Court has almost accepted the Government’s position on the issue. It is time, therefore, for Congress party to end Rafale acrimony.