India

Modi government compromising Indo-French ties over Rafale: Congress

Modi government compromising Indo-French ties over Rafale: Congress

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The Congress on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of compromising India’s friendly ties with France by alleging a “collusion” between former French President Francois Hollande and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over the Rafale deal.

Targeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s latest remarks on the raging Rafale issue, the Congress also claimed the Modi regime is trying to influence the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to whom the Congress has approached seeking a probe.

“For the BJP, even India-France relations will be a grist to their mill, doesn’t matter if they (ties with France) are a causality as long as they try and score ridiculous debating point,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the media here.

The Congress leader’s comments were in reaction to Jaitley’s Sunday remarks suggesting a link between a tweet by Gandhi on the Rafale and Hollande’s subsequent revelation that the Modi government proposed to choose a private entity instead of defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the offset contract.

“Hollande’s statement rhymes with Gandhi’s prediction,” Jaitley had said pointing to Gandhi’s April 30 tweet wherein he had predicted of some explosive revelations to emerge in next couple of weeks.

Singhvi called Jaitley’s allegations as “silly” and said: “The deal is done when Hollande is the (French) President and when the BJP is in power, and the collusion with us?”

“It shows cheap politics of the BJP which is being allowed to trump even India’s foreign relations arena.”

The Congress also attacked Jaitley over his (Sunday) remarks that the “CAG would study the pricing and take a view on whether the NDA government’s deal was better than the one UPA was negotiating”.

“How can any Minister of the Modi government say what the CAG will do. This is a clear direction, a message, an indication, trying to tell the CAG what to do, how much to do and what it should not do,” alleged Singhvi.

“They are setting the tone and content in advance for what the government will like the CAG to do,” added Singhvi expressing apprehension that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), to which the Congress on Monday approached seeking a probe, may also be influenced in a similar manner.

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