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NDA’s re-negotiated Rafale deal has put pilots’ lives at risk: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi | Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the Modi government over the Rafale issue alleging that Indian pilots were at risk flying the “ancient” Jaguars due to the NDA renegotiating the Rafale aircraft deal that did not allow transfer of technology to the country.

In a Facebook post, Gandhi alleged the NDA renegotiated the UPA deal to benefit crony capitalists and reduced India’s prestige globally.

India could not get a transfer of technology as negotiated during the UPA rule and it was shameful that Indian pilots have to put their lives at risk flying the ancient Jaguar aircraft as the new technology did not come into the country, he said.

He cited a media report to allege that instead of getting 126 Rafale aircraft together with the transfer of technology that would have transformed the Indian Air Force, the NDA government renegotiated the deal to get only 36 aircraft made in France.

“Since 2014, instead of taking to closure deals that had been negotiated by the UPA Government, the present government has focussed on renegotiating those deals to benefit crony capitalists.

“For instance, the UPA’s Rafale deal for 126 aircraft would have transformed the Indian Airforce allowing us to scrap and replace ancient aircraft like the Jaguar.

“It involved the transfer of technology to HAL which would have helped make us become more self-reliant in the future. Instead, the deal was re-worked for Anil Ambani’s benefit and reduced to just 36 aircraft – all made in France. These aircraft will take years to arrive in India,” he claimed in his post.

Gandhi later tweeted, “Thanks to the PM’s massive corruption, the best pilots in the world now have unlimited access to French junkyards for Jaguar spare parts, rather than new, Indian made planes.”

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group has denied the Congress’ allegations in connection with the deal.

Gandhi and his Congress party have been attacking the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, alleging corruption and favouritism.

The Government has dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, while the BJP has accused him of spreading lies on the issue.

The Congress chief alleged that India’s pilots are forced to put their lives at risk each day, flying ancient Jaguars, that are kept in the air “using parts scrounged from junkyards in France and other parts of the world”.

“Not only is this shameful, it reduces India’s prestige globally and puts the lives of our pilots at risk,” he said.

He cited a media report claiming that “India is the only air force in the world still flying the Jaguar aircraft, and will now cannibalise’ retired aircraft for spare parts”.

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Aim of opposition’s alliance is to form secular govt: Abhishek Singhvi

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Congress

Kolkata | Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Saturday hailed TMC’s mega opposition rally here and said the aim of the rainbow opposition alliance is to defeat the BJP and form a secular government.

“The cloud is dispappearing and rainbow will emerge soon with the fall of Modi Government and fulfil people’s expectation,” Singhvi said at the mammoth gathering at the Brigade Parade Grounds, where leaders of more than 14 parties, except the BJD and the CPI(M)-led Left Front, spoke at the united opposition rally.

“Never before have we seen such vendetta politics as now … When Amit Shah did 100 rallies in Uttar Pradesh, no one questioned, but when RJD organised a rally it got an income tax notice,” he said.

Congress is an ally of the Lalu Prasad’s RJD in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) in Bihar. Accusing the Centre of indulging in “cheap politics”, the Congress leader said the biggest beneficiary of vote division is BJP.

“Narendra Modi makes fun of the opposition alliance, but his party made the most unethical alliance in Kashmir. What will he say about it?” Singhvi asked.

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BSP-SP alliance a mismatch, its leaders unreliable: Shivpal Yadav

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Shivpal Yadav

Ballia (UP) | Terming the BSP-SP alliance as a “mismatch”, former Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shivpal Yadav on Saturday alleged that the leaders of the two parties were unreliable as they both had betrayed Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Shivpal Yadav, who has floated Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) after parting ways with the SP, hit out at his nephew and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, alleging that he had deceived not only his father Mulayam Singh Yadav but also the Congress party.

“The BSP-SP alliance is a mismatch… their leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are unreliable as they have betrayed the SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav,” Shivpal Singh Yadav, who was here to attend a function in Sahatwar, told reporters. “After forming the government with the Samajwadi Party in 1993, the BSP had betrayed Mulayam Singh in merely 17 months ,” Shivpal Yadav said recalling her association with the BJP in the past.

On Akhilesh Yadav, he said that the SP president not only betrayed his father but also the Congress with which he fought the last Assembly polls in UP by going ahead and entering into an alliance with the BSP, leaving the Congress out.

He claimed, “backbiters and sycophants have brought the party to a situation where senior leaders are parting ways with it”. He accused SP Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav of damaging the party and blamed him for the SP’s defeat in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

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Opposition’s rally a summit of conflicting ideologies, will form next govt: BJP

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BJP

New Delhi | The BJP on Saturday described the united opposition rally organised by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee “a rally of self interest and of conflicting ideologies”, and exuded confidence of forming the next government in the country.

Speaking at a press conference at the party office here, BJP’s national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy termed the rally an anti-Modi exercise and said the party was not threatened by such events.

Banerjee on Saturday organised ‘United India’ rally against the Narendra Modi government in Kolkata, which was attended by more than a dozen leaders of opposition parties, including SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, NCP president Sharad Pawar, TDP leader, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha.

“Don’t know where the threat to unity is. While Mamata calls it United India, we can clearly see a divided leadership. It’s a summit of contradictions and conflict. They talk of a new front but I am not sure if it’s even the second or the third front,” Rudy said.

He further said this rally has also exposed divisions in the opposition camp, “many of these parties are just snubbing each other.”  “Left has refused their invitation. SP-BSP alliance snubbed Congress in UP which has now extended support to the rally. This is a rally of self-interest,” he said.

People have seen the performance of the Narendra Modi government and the BJP will form the next government with full majority, Rudy said. “Today’s opposition rally in Kolkata is an anti-Modi exercise. Who is their leader,” he asked.

On the question of BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha attending the opposition rally, he said BJP will take cognisance of it and said,”They make it a point to be present after party issues whip so that they don’t lose their membership. At the same time they are so opportunistic that they want to climb the stage and be present at a conclave.”

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