Bengaluru, Oct 13: Congress President Rahul Gandhi struck the right chord with former HAL employees on Saturday while defending the public sector unit left out of politically sensitive Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
Rahul Gandhi apologizes to HAL on behalf of Govt of India while interacted with retired employees in Bengaluru.
During his interaction, he said, "Public Sectors are the temples of modern India. We cannot allow them to be destroyed. If somebody thinks they can build their future on your graves, that cannot be allowed. We are going to fight for your future."
At the outset, Rahul Gandhi said, "HAL, for me, is not just a company. It is an institution. When we got our independence, India built strategic assets to enter aerospace sectors. The work you have done is tremendous and the country owes a huge debt to you.'
"When Mr. Obama says there are only 2 countries that challenge the USA are India and China, you (HAL) are an important part of it, " Rahul Gandhi said.
"I have come here to listen to you how this strategic asset can be made more effective and the type of difficulties you are facing, " said Rahul Gandhi to the former employees and party workers.
Mr Sirajuddin Retd, HAL Employee, said, "We have been insulted and let down. A company of 70 years of experience is thrown out of the Rafale agreement. I do not understand. A large and experienced company that should have been improved. You are killing us."
"HAL is leading the aviation industry in South East Asia. Do you want to kill this industry? It is an insult and injury. We will not tolerate this For the first time in my life, I have seen the govt issuing a directive advising employees against attending an event, " said.
Another retired HAL employee Mahadevan, said, " Bengaluru was the Public Sector Capital of India. Protecting our employment is the most important thing. In the new Rafale agreement, there is no transfer of technology. Defence production cannot be given to private individuals. It is a strategic asset."
Babu T Raghav, former Engineer of IAF, said, " Whenever HAL representatives visited our squadrons, we knew there are new hopes and new technologies. HAL and IAF are like two wings of one flight. During the Cold War, HAL was the only company that had an opportunity to work with Russian technologies. It is the best organisation in Asia."