New Delhi: Against the backdrop of objections by some MPs, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today strongly defended the Rs 2,058 crore Jet-Etihad deal, saying those opposing it were “long on politics and short on facts”.

“It is such an important deal…, the first big deal in Civil Aviation Ministry. In terms of FDI, it is bigger than any other deal this year. There are so many dimensions to it. Those opposing the deal are long on politics and short on facts,” Singh told reporters here.

The objections to the deal were first raised by a Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury, which was followed up by senior MPs, Jaswant Singh and Dinesh Trivedi, and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Prime Minister had then referred these concerns in a communication to the various Ministries, including Civil Aviation, Commerce and Finance.

Replying to a volley of questions on the objections raised by the MPs and the parliamentary panel, he said, “It is good that the Prime Minister wants the Cabinet to discuss it.”

Asked whether his Ministry could oppose the deal, he said, “There is no question in that.”

“The issue is, it’s a political thing. Basically elections are coming. They have been attacking day in and day out, this minister and that minister. But I wished that they had checked their facts,” Singh said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said that the deal was being examined. “The FIPB has to approve any such deal and sometimes they ask for clarifications. I don’t think any deal has halted. It is being examined as normally any deal has to be examined.”

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