Rahul takes Rafale bat­tle to HAL doors

CON­TRACT DE­NIAL: Modi govern­ment has ‘in­sulted, hurt and de­stroyed’ the fu­ture of the pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ing

Oman Daily Observer - - INDIA -

BENGALURU: Tak­ing the Rafale bat­tle to the doors of HAL, Congress Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on Satur­day said that the Modi govern­ment has “in­sulted, hurt and de­stroyed” the fu­ture of the pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ing by de­priv­ing it of the off­set con­tract with the French air­craft man­u­fac­turer Das­sault.

In an hour-long in­ter­ac­tion with about 100 for­mer and present em­ploy­ees of Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL), who were di­rected by the man­age­ment to keep away from it, he also ques­tioned the cred­i­bil­ity and the ex­pe­ri­ence of the pri­vate com­pany that got the Rs 30,000 crore off­set con­tract.

Gandhi said firms such as HAL, ISRO and DRDO were the “tem­ples of mod­ern In­dia” which were be­ing “de­stroyed” by the Modi govern­ment that was in­dulging in cor­rup­tion.

“A very se­nior per­son in the govern­ment has raised ques­tions over the ‘ca­pac­ity’ of HAL. I ask them as to what is the ca­pac­ity of Anil Am­bani’s com­pany that has got the con­tract? What ex­actly is the ex­pe­ri­ence this per­son has (in aero­nau­tics)? The HAL’S ca­pa­bil­i­ties are all in front of us. You (HAL) have built HF-24, Migs, Sukhoi and Te­jas. The pub­lic sec­tor is the back­bone of the coun­try and the de­fence sec­tor,” Gandhi said.

He said it was “com­pletely ridicu­lous” to say that HAL does not have any ex­pe­ri­ence. The per­son who got the con­tract has zero ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Does HAL have debt? No. But the per­son who got the con­tract has Rs 45,000 crore debt,” he added.

Rahul said, “You are the only com­pany with the req­ui­site ex­pe­ri­ence to build that air­craft (Rafale). You are the peo­ple who built Te­jas, MIG, Sukhoi. How can any­body say that you are not ex­pe­ri­enced? The forces try­ing to take away your fu­ture are quite pow­er­ful, quite con­nected,” he said, adding that con­certed ef­forts would be needed to save HAL and other pub­lic sec­tor com­pa­nies.

“I have come to give a mes­sage that we are go­ing to pro­tect your fu­ture. We are go­ing to fight for your rights. Rafale is your right. The de­ci­sion (to give off­set con­tract) should be done only on merit. No­body in the world who thinks ob­jec­tively and takes de­ci­sions on merit can take away the off­set con­tract from HAL.”

He said when the Congress comes to power at the Cen­tre its govern­ment would en­sure that HAL got more or­ders to make air­craft. “We will not al­low this govern­ment or any­one to de­stroy HAL or take away or­ders from it.

Re­fer­ring to the cir­cu­lar di­rect­ing em­ploy­ees to keep away from the in­ter­ac­tion with him, Gandhi said the man­age­ment must have been un­der “pres­sure” from the govern­ment but “we are fight­ing for you too”.

He said the HAL fra­ter­nity has been in­sulted and hurt. “Their hard work of the last 78 years, their pa­tri­o­tism, has been in­sulted and ques­tioned by the govern­ment through the De­fence Min­istry. The gen­tle­man who has got the con­tract has worked only for 12 days. The tem­ples of mod­ern In­dia are be­ing de­stroyed,” the Congress Pres­i­dent said.

Tak­ing a jibe at the me­dia, he said: “You (HAL em­ploy­ees) called me here be­cause you feel the me­dia is not lis­ten­ing to your voice. But me­dia does not lis­ten even to us these days. The me­dia bosses don’t want these types of con­ver­sa­tions.”

Gandhi said he was 100 per cent with the HAL em­ploy­ees and told them they were free to call him any­time 24/7 to voice their griev­ances.

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