I feel let down, says Manohar Parrikar to Rahul Gandhi over Rafale: Congress chief's image on line; he should prove charges or apologise

In the run up to election day, we, the people, are going to get made the most outlandish promises and statements from the two major political parties.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already set that ball rolling with his promise of a guaranteed minimum wage for all. And now, via the budget announcements, the BJP will have to come up with a trump card to take this trick or else watch it impact favourably on the public.

I feel let down, says Manohar Parrikar to Rahul Gandhi over Rafale: Congress chiefs image on line; he should prove charges or apologise

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

How favourably depends a lot on how Rahul explains the practicality of the implementation, because no one believes these financial folderols as anything but vote-winning ploys. At present, it is just a pleasant announcement that really hasn’t taken root because there are no facts and figures and the promise kind of hangs in the air without moorings.

Also, though unfairly, the experience of the Modi ‘promise’ of Rs 15 lakh per person that never materialised has tamped down the enthusiasm for the Rahul windfall with a sort of ‘ho-hum here we go again' disbelief. Forgotten in all this is the fact that Modi never made the promise to put this sum into everyone’s accounts. It was just an illustration of how much black money was outside the country and if it was ferreted out and brought back, it would be enough to fill every Indian’s bank account.

It is people like Union minister Ramdas Athawale who propelled the myth into a truism by clumsily trying to curry favour with Modi and repeating the ‘promise’ out of context.

But in this comedy of financial musical chairs, the one new development that has certainly tarnished Rahul's image is the letter written by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar on 30 January following the Congress president’s visit to see the ailing BJP minister at his office.

This is the second time Rahul Gandhi has been thus challenged. Earlier it was his claim that french President told him stuff about Rafale that the latter denied.

Assuming that the letter, which has now gone viral on social media, reflects the facts when Parrikar says the Rafale deal was not discussed in the five minutes Rahul spent with Parrikar, it is horrendous that a courtesy call on a very unwell person would be exploited by Rahul in this fashion.

You just don’t do certain things. Tell your grandiose lies and serve up blandishments to the public because that is the name of the game. But you do not go to a man who is critically unwell without appointment and then use that visit for propaganda purposes. To make things worse, Rahul even quotes Parrikar as not being involved in the procurement process and having no information about it. Parrikar says it never even came up. One of them is lying.

A fresh assessment probably has to be made of Rahul's ability to even make a bid for the leadership of a nation. And all his statements would now need to be rechecked for honesty. After all, these are not lighthearted accusations.

For this once, Rahul Gandhi needs to explain to the country the emotionally charged Parrikar rebuttal. Either prove that the Rafale deal was discussed however briefly or apologise for the blatant fib.

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Updated Date: Jan 31, 2019 07:50:59 IST

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