The Congress on Friday accused the BJP of “hatching a conspiracy” to create differences between it and the NCP in the wake of a row over its chief Sharad Pawar’s remarks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image has been unscathed in the Rafale deal issue.
Responding to a question on Pawar’s remarks, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Mallikarjuna Kharge had spoken to Pawar in length on the issue.”
“Pawarji has clearly said that convey from my side that all these things are false and baseless. Pawarji has said that it was a conspiracy by the BJP to create differences between the two parties,” Surjewala said.
Pawar in an interview to a Marathi news channel New18-Lokmat aired on Wednesday, said, “There is no doubt in public minds about Modi’s intentions in the Rafale deal, that’s what I feel.”
However, Pawar made it clear that there should be a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Rafale deal in depth to unravel the truth before the public, a demand Congress and a few other parties have put forward.
In the wake of Pawar’s remarks, one of the party’s founding leaders, Tariq Anwar quit the party and the Lok Sabha expressing disagreement with him.
“I have resigned from the NCP as well as the membership of Lok Sabha because I totally disagree with Sharad Pawar’s statement in support of Modi on Rafale deal,” Anwar said.
The Congress leader further said that Pawar has said three things. “First, Pawarji has said that the government should explain how the prices of the Rafale aircraft went up thrice. And the answer on this needs to be given by the Prime Minister.”
He also said that the NCP was in support of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe. At the time of the Bofors controversy, the BJP had demanded a JPC and the Congress had conceded it, Pawar is said to have told Kharge.
Pawar’s remarks in the interview were welcomed by BJP chief Amit Shah who praised him for “placing national interests above party politics”.