The Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France will prove to be the BJP’s Achilles’ heel, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the “Difficult Dialogues” conference on gender issues in Panaji, Khurshid repeated his party’s demand the government reveal the details of the deal. One can understand if strategic dimensions are kept secret, he said, “There can be no secrecy on how much an aircraft is purchased for.”
The Congress has been attacking the BJP-led Centre over the issue, claiming the deal negotiated under the UPA was cheaper than the one signed by the current dispensation to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore. The Congress has also been alleging that “political corruption” was involved in the deal.
“Our allegations over the Rafale deal are justified and this will be the Achilles’ Heel of the BJP,” Khurshid said. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has sought time in the Lok Sabha to speak on the issue, the former Union minister said.
The defence ministry recently termed as “unfounded” the allegations made by the Congress about the deal, asserting the demand to disclose details such as its value was “unrealistic” as doing so might compromise India’s national security.
Khurshid also spoke on the issue of triple talaq, saying the Supreme Court has termed the practice as void. “When uttering meaningless words has no legal implication, how can there be a legislation to punish a person for saying things which have no meaning,” he asked.
He said the BJP is trying to create an impression that it was trying to do something for the women and the Congress was opposing it. “We are all for supporting the government if it works for creating a social security basket for divorced women from all religions,” he said.
Khurshid said the politics of perception was turning against the BJP, while admitting the UPA failed to capitalise on its social welfare measures like the Right to Education, the Right to Information, and the Right to Health and Food. “We tried to implement these measures. But the implementation is difficult and takes a long time. The problem is that states need to have structures and services in place to ensure these measures work,” Khurshid said. He said, “We have to work on the right to justice which allows access to legal services for the common man.”