Political slugfest continues in Odisha over Rafale deal

Bhubaneswar: With the general elections around the corner, political parties in the State are leaving no stone unturned to corner each other with the Odisha Congress today targeting the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) over the multi-crore Rafale deal.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik on Sunday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and alleged that the PM has become a partner in the mega Rs 42,000 crore scam in the country.

“PM Modi used to say he was the Chowkidar (watchman), but now he has become the bhaagidar (partner) of Anil Ambani. Due to the deal, the country suffered a loss of Rs 42,000 crore for which the PM is responsible. Had the 108 planes been made in India, 1.2 lakh people would have got jobs, including 40,000 from Odisha,” said Patnaik.

Responding to Patnaik’s allegations, general secretary of Odisha BJP Prithviraj Harichandan said that the Congress must stop such manufactured and ‘false campaign’ for vested interests.

“Union Finance Minister has recently spoken about the Rafale deal in an interview. I suggest, Rahul Gandhi and Niranjan Patnaik should watch it once. During the second term of UPA government, there was a contract for unloaded fighter planes but the new contract of NDA enables us get loaded jets even at much cheaper rates,” stated Harichandan.

On the other hand, senior BJD leader Rabi Narayan Nanda said that the Congress is raking up the issue of HAL now for political gains while it had been silent on it since long.

“BJD has always been against corruption. We have demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal which started from the UPA regime to NDA now,” said Nanda.