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UPA's Rafale Deal Could've Been Mother of All Make in India Initiatives: Ghulam Nabi Azad

The former union minister also accused the Modi government of undermining the constitutional authority of institutions including the Supreme Court, CBI, Central Vigilance Commission and Reserve Bank of India.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:November 4, 2018, 10:42 PM IST
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UPA's Rafale Deal Could've Been Mother of All Make in India Initiatives: Ghulam Nabi Azad
File photo of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
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Bhopal: Launching a multi-pronged attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal and his flagship ‘Make in India’ programme, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the deal for the fighter jet inked by the UPA could have turned out to be the biggest ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“The Rafale deal inked by UPA had the provision of buying 18 aircraft from France and manufacturing the remaining ones in India at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which could have generated jobs for 24,000-25,000 engineers,” Azad said while speaking to the media on Sunday. “The deal could have turned out to be the mother of all Make in India initiatives,” he added.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister alleged that at present, Chinese cellphones are being imported and fitted in equipments manufactured in India and this has been dubbed as a ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The former union minister also accused the Modi government of undermining the constitutional authority of institutions, including the Supreme Court, CBI, Central Vigilance Commission and Reserve Bank of India.

He claimed that maximum deaths of armed personnel, civilians and most security breaches at the border have been reported during the Modi government. “Our Asian neighbours have changed their stance towards us a lot after the BJP came to power,” he said.

Criticising the Modi government’s demonetisation move, he alleged the BJP government facilitated dubious transactions by phasing out Rs 1,000 notes and bringing in Rs 2,000 notes. “Demonetisation was only meant to convert Rs 1 lakh black money into white,” he said.

Attacking BJP’s version of GST, Azad said this led to 56 lakh people losing their jobs and thousands of MSME units closing down.

Azad said the Congress is not a party that rakes up religion during the elections but fended off questions on what stand his party would take if the Centre brought in a legislation to build Ram temple.

On being asked about Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s frequent visits to temples in poll-bound MP and elsewhere, Azad said Gandhi could visit temples and go to mosques irrespective of elections. “As we visit places, our supporters normally urge us to visit religious places and it’s quite normal,” he added.

Stepping up his attack on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, Azad spoke about a range of issues, including farmer suicides, unemployment, crimes against women and providing quality education. “From 2015 to 2017, the number of jobless youths listed at employment offices in MP rose by a whopping eight lakh, whereas the state government could barely offer 422 jobs a year,” said the visiting leader. Claiming that 45 per cent farmers in Madhya Pradesh are debt-ridden, he said the figure was highest among all states.

On being asked why the Congress has not declared a chief ministerial face ahead of the assembly polls, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, “Faces are often deceptive.” Azad further asked, “The election was also fought on a face at the Centre, what happened later?”

Taking a dig at media reports over his ‘Hindu candidates’ remark, he said an incomplete sentence from his speech was taken out of context. “I had said that BJP has created such an atmosphere in the country that Hindus are apprehensive while inviting me for campaigns,” he clarified.​
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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