Rahul meets HAL staff, steps up Rafale attack
REACHING OUT HAL strategic asset, no ordinary company, says Congress chief BENGALURU:
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday described the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as a “strategic asset” in aerospace, saying the country owed a debt to it, as he stepped up his campaign against the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Reaching out to present and former employees of the defence public sector unit (PSU) at an interaction with them here, Gandhi said the work done by HAL for the country was tremendous and the country owed a debt to it for “protecting us” and creating a scientific vision.
“...HAL is a strategic asset in aerospace, not an ordinary or regular company,” Gandhi said at the event organised at Minsk Square near the HAL headquarters.
He said he was interacting with the employees to understand how to make “this strategic asset” (HAL) more effective “so that when we come to power, we will do it more aggressively.”
“I have come here to understand you, listen to your issues. I have come here to understand how this strategic asset can be made more effective for our country and future. I want to know about the issues you are facing as we would like to help you,” he told them.
Gandhi’s interaction is part of his onslaught against the Modi government over the Rafale deal in which he alleges HAL had been overlooked in the offsets contracts with French aerospace company Dassault Aviation preferring Anil Ambani’s company.
The Congress, which has been accusing the government of benefiting Reliance Defence Ltd of Anil Ambani from the deal, has also been demanding answers on why the state-run aerospace major HAL was not involved in the deal as finalised during the UPA.
The party had been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of snatching jobs of people of Karnataka by taking away the contract from HAL.
Gandhi had been saying that had HAL been selected in place of Reliance Defence, it could have generated employment to scores of unemployed youth in the state.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi meets current and retired employees of HAL in Bengaluru on Saturday.