Will Rafale prove to be ‘Achilles heel’ for BJP in next LS polls?

Will Rafale prove to be ‘Achilles heel’ for BJP in next LS polls?

By MANJU GUPTA


New Delhi: The ruling BJP battling hard to get second term in office looks getting caught in a serious trouble over the controversial Rafale fighter jets deal.

Even as the united opposition goes on seeking details of the deal, the BJP has refused to share them saying this information was covered under confidentiality agreement.

But experts say the alleged Rafael controversy could prove to be the last nail in BJP’s coffin as Bofors was in the case of Congress.

They say the continuing controversy over the issue has very much eroded the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his own country although he has been ranked as the one of the world’s top three leaders in an international survey.

The BJP which was voted to power in the last 2014 LS polls in view of massive resentment over a series of scams surfacing during the previous UPA regime has continued its attacks against the Congress over the issue of corruption.

But, now with all those involved in 2G scam having been given a clean chit, it is being said that UPA has been vindicated. Likewise, former PM, Manmohan Singh too has been given a clean chit in the case of coal block allocation scam.

However, it’s just the reverse in the BJP camp. With Rafael controversy unfolding, the ball, in a way, is now again in the BJP’s court.

Bofors had proved to be an Achilles heel for the Congress as Rajiv Gandhi was accused of having received kickbacks in the deal and stashing money away in Swiss bank. But the fact still remains that CBI failed to identify the main culprit and Delhi High Court quashed the charges against those accused.

Now, the BJP itself appears to be embroiled in serious controversies over the Rafael deal. After all, how can a government justify acquiring 36 Rafael aircraft at a cost which is way higher than UPA government deal of acquiring 126 aircrafts?

“It was just to divert the attention from the deal that the BJP alleged that Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, was attempting to play the role of wheeler-dealer,” said an expert wishing not to be quoted.

Adding insult to the injury, it is now apparent that Anil Ambani’s company, Reliance Defence was made the offset partner in the Rafael Deal. Even the former President of France, Francois Hollande, has attested to this fact.

“If the BJP says that UPA government signed the deal with Reliance Defence in 2012 what about the Jio controversy. Jio Controversy is also an example of capital cronyism being practiced. Jio university has been given the status of an institute of excellence even though it exists only on papers,” the expert added.

(The views expressed in the article are author’s own)

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