Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Dec 2018 12:23:44

THE rejection of a petition challenging the Rafale aircraft deal by the honourable Supreme Court not just clears the air of uncalled for doubt and suspicion of corruption, but also establishes the fact that the Narendra Modi Government had kept the total handling of the transaction very transparent. Now at least, those who kept crying foul about the Rafale Deal must learn the right lesson and realise that they were indulging in much ado about nothing. At least from now on, India’s political discourse should be carried forward without such senseless allegations that take the nation nowhere.

Right from the beginning, the Modi Government had been stating clearly that everything in the Rafale Deal was above board. It also stated time and again that it would be most willing to discuss details with the Opposition because it had a clear conscience. Defence Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj plus Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had been telling the nation in complete honesty that there was no procedural mishandling of details of the Rafale Deal. Ms. Sitharaman also told the media in no uncertain terms that the Government had never shied away from disclosing pricing details and had actually brought those in public domain through statements in Parliament thrice over.

The trouble was that the Congress party had picked up the alleged corruption in Rafale Deal as an electoral issue. That made the Congress leadership keep arguing that there was corruption in the prestigious aircraft deal between India and France. So blinded had the Congress party become in its make-believe condition that its leaders refused to listen to a voice of reason. The honourable Supreme Court has cleared the air as regards allegations of corruption. This is good news, to say the least.

It is not possible to imagine or predict how the Congress will conduct itself in the coming times following the honourable Supreme Court’s decision. Its leadership may still want to continue harping on the same issue in the same immature manner. If it chooses to follow that path, as it has done by asking for a probe into the deal through a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), it would be very unfortunate.

The demand makes it clear that blinded by its electoral goals, the Congress is bent upon dragging the Rafale Deal issue to the national centrestage in the face of ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The victory of the party in the three State elections does not seem to give Congress enough material to talk about as an election issue. Hence the indication that the Rafale Deal will keep occupying national psyche for quite some time. If Congress chooses to do it, it will only imperil a healthy national discourse on issues of greater importance.