Pawar alleges that Parrikar quit as defence minister over Rafale deal
Mumbai, Apr 13: Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar relinquished his post at the Centre and returned to Goa because he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed on Saturday.
Addressing reporters in Kolhapur, the Maratha strongman also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that he had failed to fulfil the promises made during the 2014 poll campaign and was, therefore, diverting people's attention.
"The Rafale deal was not acceptable to Manohar Parrikar. He therefore resigned from the post of Defence minister and returned to Goa," claimed Pawar.
Parrikar, who took over as defence minister in November 2014, was sworn in as Goa chief minister on March 14, 2017. He died on March 17 this year after a long battle with a pancreatic ailment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016. Slamming Modi, Pawar said the BJP has taken "siege" of important institutions in the country and is using them for its own benefits.
"It is very serious when judges of the Supreme Court have to conduct a press conference," he said.
In an unprecedented move, four judges of the Supreme Court had held a press conference on January 12, 2018, in which they raised a litany of problems, including the issue of assigning of cases, plaguing the apex court. The historical press conference was held by Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Ranjan Gogoi (current CJI).
Pawar also attacked the BJP and Modi for "politicising" the Army, adding that all other parties ensured that the armed forces were not politicised. Praising Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, Pawar said the former was speaking the truth when he tells people that the Modi-Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah) combination is a dangerous one for the country.
"He is effectively conveying, with proofs, about the wrongs that have happened. We and Raj Thackeray are not together in the elections but we will take the help of everybody to take away power from the hands of wrong people," he said.
Pawar claimed that there is an environment of change prevalent in the country and people do not want a BJP government in power again.