Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Sep 2018 10:17:56

DEFENCE Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman has punctured the political balloon of Congress party by asserting that the Government would put before public all the facts about Rafale deal so that all the dust Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi has kicked up would get cleared. Calling it a ‘perception battle’, Ms. Sitharaman has said, in effect, that the Government would bring into public domain all the facts about Rafale deal because the Congress party has been asking Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to come clean on the issue. Once this happens, the Congress party will lose the only issue it feels it will use as a trump card in the electoral game next year. 

Of course, the Congress has been making a lot of demands in this regard, including an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). The Government has rejected that demand outright, but has now come up with the response which Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman gave. Obviously, the Defence Minister has played a smart card to which the Congress party will have only a cantankerous response. The common public will feel vindicated once the Government puts in public domain all facts about Rafale deal. In fact, from time to time, the Government has made all things loud and clear. Yet, just because the Congress party has no other point to harp on, it is alleging massive corruption in the Rafale deal.

One of the points being highlighted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) all along is that there has been no blot of corruption on the Modi Government in the past four years. By raising the Rafale issue, the Congress felt that it would start tarnishing the image of the Government that claimed that there were no blots of corruption.

This effort of Congress Ms. Sitharaman has described as a battle of perception, and she hopes to clear the air in popular mind by stating facts. This appears to be a right approach. For, the common public does not believe a word of what the Congress party is saying. Everybody still believes that Mr. Narendra Modi is one person whose integrity is beyond doubt, which is why there is no charge of corruption against his Government. Irked by this reality, the Congress appears to have it as a part of its election strategy to keep alleging corruption in the Rafale deal.

It is unfortunate that the country’s main Opposition party is so immature and so frustrated as well. The Government so far has explained its position clearly on the Rafale issue. Yet, the Congress seems in no mood to listen to reason. And this makes it obvious that it is going to make Rafale as an election plank. And this also makes it obvious to the common people that Mr. Rahul Gandhi has run out of ideas.
The statement by former French President Mr. Hollande about the involvement of Reliance in the Rafale deal did kick up some more dust. Yet, as Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley explained pointedly, Mr. Hollande has contradicted his own earlier statements on Rafale deal. This may be so because Mr. Hollande is in political wilderness at present and has to get into public glare somehow. It is quite likely that he felt that the Rafale deal offered him some chance to do that.

Mr. Rahul Gandhi has known how the involvement of the name of his father Mr. Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors deal sealed his political fate. Therefore, he is now hoping to make a similar effort to malign the name of Mr. Narendra Modi as well. The common public, however, believes that the Congress party’s efforts are politically-motivated and do not carry much substance. Once the Government starts putting before public all the facts of the Rafale deal, uglier realities about what happened during the earlier Congress regime, too, would come out. It is from this angle that Ms. Sitharaman’s statement has to be viewed.