Days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar gave a ‘clean chit’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, Tariq Anwar resigned from the party on Friday. In a statement, Anwar, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Katihar in Bihar, said he ‘cannot betray the common perception over irregularities in the deal.’
Making the announcement in his Lok Sabha constituency here, Anwar said he was resigning from all posts in the party, of which he was a founding member, and also giving up his membership of Parliament. Anwar told reporters he was “hurt” by Pawar’s interview to a Marathi news channel this week where he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intentions on the Rafale fighter jet aircraft deal were not wrong.
“No decision has been taken so far about my future political move. I will be deciding that after consulting my supporters,” Anwar was quoted as saying by PTI.
Speaking to a Marathi news channel, Pawar had said that he didn’t think that people have doubts about Modi’s intentions in the Rafale deal. Pawar, a former Defence Minister, had also said that the Opposition’s demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jets “made no sense”. He, however, said there was no harm for the government to disclose prices of the aircraft.
BJP president Amit Shah praised Pawar for his stand on the issue. In a tweet, he said, “I thank Shri @PawarSpeaks Ji, a former Defence Minister and veteran MP, for placing national interests above party politics and speaking the truth. Dear @RahulGandhi, you would be wiser by believing your own ally and a leader of Pawar Saheb’s stature.”
However, the NCP maintained the party chief did not give any clean cheat to PM Modi in the Rafale issue. Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “He (Pawar) has not made any statement defending Modi nor has he given any clean chit (in the Rafale deal matter).” Malik said what Pawar meant was that people initially didn’t have doubts about the prime minister. “What Pawar saheb said was that the way the matter is being hushed up (by the government) and attention of people from the issue is being diverted, the doubt is deepening,” Malik said.
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