Lucknow: Dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha Thursday said people want answers from the government on the Rafale deal and “ignoring” the questions being raised over the agreement would not do. His remarks come amid relentless opposition attack on the government over the deal.
Addressing a gathering here on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, who gave the clarion call of ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (complete revolution), Sinha asked why PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was “sidelined” in favour of a private firm as an offset Indian partner of Dassault Aviation for manufacturing the fighter aircraft.
“The public want an answer on the Rafale deal. You have to speak up, and mere ignoring it will not do. Why was HAL which had the experience of manufacturing MiGs and Sukhoi sidelined and a 10-day-old company with (virtually) zero balance and zero experience was given the job,” the BJP MP said, flanked by former party leader Yashwant Sinha and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. He said power should be a medium to serve the people “not to reap dividends”.
Sinha has often spoken going against his party line and criticised the NDA government’s policy. He defended his remarks attacking the government, saying, “If speaking the truth is considered as mutiny, then I am a mutineer.” “Making hollow promises, giving speeches and indulging in rhetoric will not work any more. Party is always bigger than a person and the country is bigger than the party. If I am talking in the interest of the country, then what is wrong in it?”
Sinha said Jayaprakash Narayan was his inspiration to join politics. On demonetisation, he said it was not a decision of the party. “Had it been the decision of the party, then friend, philosopher and guide LK Advani would have known about it. MM Joshi, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and a worker like me would have known about it,” he said. After demonetisation, there was a “complicated” GST, he said. He also termed Yashwant Sinha, who quit the BJP and has been critical of the party for some time, a “source of strength” for him.
“A few days ago, Yashwant Sinha was asked to draw comparison between the Atal Bihari government and the current one headed by Narendra Modi. He said that during Atal’s regime, there was lokshaahi (democracy), today there is tanashaahi (dictatorship). I had said that there is one-man-show, two-man-army,” Sinha said. The gathering burst into peals of laughter when a youth stood up and said to Shatrughan, “I love you (mujhe aapse pyaar ho gaya hai).” To which, the actor-turned-politician replied, saying, “Don’t blush otherwise I will be accused of #MeToo.” Government agencies are conducting raids on opposition leaders but their intensity has mellowed down (in view of elections), he said, adding he too was targeted. He also asked the audience to keep an eye on technical snags in EVMs during elections. “This is my dil ki baat”.