Arun Jaitley, has a “fertile imagination”says P Chidambaram

'To a person running scared, every shadow will be a demon'

Speaking to DH's Annapurna Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram says there is no connection between Congress president Rahul Gandhi's tweet and former president of France Francois Hollande's Rafale-deal comment and adds that his successor as finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has a “fertile imagination”.

Rafale is almost an election issue now. How is the Opposition going to address it?

When the Parliament is called to meet or elections are held in the states, Rafale will be a major issue. The more the government defends the deal and refuses to order an inquiry, the suspicion about the deal will grow.

At some point of time, the suspicion will become a certainty in the minds of many people. I am surprised that the government refuses to see the inexorable drift of events and stubbornly refuses to order an inquiry.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says he will not be surprised if the whole thing is orchestrated. He has referred to Rahul Gandhi's August 30 tweet and Hollande's statement on September 21.

The finance minister has a fertile imagination. What is the connection between a tweet on August 30 and the interview given by the former president of France Francois Hollande on September 21? I am reminded of a Tamil proverb: To a person running scared, every shadow will be a demon.

Mr Hollande’s interview was given to a reputed French magazine which, I believe, is not circulated in India. Only when the Le Monde bureau chief cited the interview, the Indian media picked it up, and the Congress party reacted thereafter. There is absolutely no connection between the isolated tweet on August 30 and the interview on September 21.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not spoken on the issue so far. Jaitley says the prime minister is not expected to comment on “small” issues.

Is the Rafale deal a small issue? Is a deal of the value of Euro 7.5 billion a small matter? Why is the government trivialising? Did the BJP not demand answers from Dr Manmohan Singh on practically every issue?

Besides, there were only two principals in the room when the deal was made: president Hollande and Prime Minister Modi. The former has spoken. Should not the latter — the other principal in the room— speak?

Jaitley's charge is that the UPA in 2012 selected the same Rafale from Dassault and the then Reliance entered into a MoU for Rafale with Dassault. Was that a scandal?

I know nothing about the MoU reportedly entered between another Reliance company and Dassault. Where is that MoU? What are its contents? One of the questions before the government is, how did Dassault choose its offset partner? Former president of France Hollande has given his answer. Is that answer right or wrong? Only the prime minister can answer but he has chosen to remain silent! Why?

The government says there is no question on quashing the Rafale deal

A wave of suspicion and resentment is building up on the Rafale issue. The wave may become a tide. No one can stop the tide. It will run its course.

Who can say what will happen in the next 6 months or 12 months? Besides, the Congress does not question the quality of the Rafale aircraft. The aircraft was evaluated and chosen by the UPA government. The Congress is questioning the price of the aircraft and the choice of the offset partner ignoring the claims of HAL. Let’s not mix up the good and the bad.


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