PM Modi attacks Congress over Rafale controversy, says it wanted deal to be cancelled

BALLABHGARH (HARYANA): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Congress of creating "ruckus" over the Rafale deal during the Lok Sabha elections so that the "agreement is cancelled" but despite the efforts of such parties the first jet has been received by India.

Addressing an election meeting here, Modi targeted Congress on several defence-related issues including One Rank, One Pension and alleged the Congress-led UPA government had sought to sideline the indigenous Tejas fighter jet.

Haryana has a sizeable population of ex-servicemen.

Without naming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who vociferously attacked Modi on the Rafale deal issue in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections, Modi said that his government was committed to strengthening the defence forces.

"How much ruckus had they created during the Lok Sabha elections. They tried their best that the deal to procure the aircraft gets cancelled and the aircraft do not come to India. But despite all their attempts, the first Rafale fighter has been received by India," he said.

Congress had raised questions over the cost of the deal signed by the Modi government to procure 36 Rafale aircraft, saying that the per fighter jet cost was much cheaper in the deal negotiated by the UPA government to procure 126 Rafale aircraft.

The party had also accused the government of procuring fewer fighter jets than the requirement of the Indian Air Force.

Prime Minister Modi referred to Tejas fighter jet and said that "they had prepared to put it in a box."

"Our government removed the obstacles and gave new wings to Tejas. It is becoming the pride of the Air Force," he said.

"However much they may oppose, whatever conspiracies they hatch, the government is committed to modernising the forces and giving it speed," he said.

Modi accused the Congress of speaking lies on the issue of One Rank, One Pension and not implementing it.

"Today about two lakh retired soldiers have taken its benefit," he said, adding that arrears of Rs 900 crore have been paid to them.

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