Rahul meets HAL staff, steps up Rafale at­tack

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Agen­cies let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

AP

Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi meets cur­rent and re­tired em­ploy­ees of HAL in Bengaluru on Satur­day.

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