'Rafale deal will cost 10,000 HAL employees their job'

'Rafale deal will cost 10,000 HAL employees their job'

Senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy addresses the media in Bengaluru on Thursday. KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao is seen.

Senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy on Thursday said the contentious Rafale deal had “inflicted a grievous wound” on the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Addressing reporters here, he said HAL had been “consigned to hell”, while industrialist Anil Ambani had been “granted a privilege entry into heaven” following the Rafale deal inked by the NDA government.

Reddy, who held discussions with office-bearers of the HAL employees’ union earlier in the day, said that around 10,000 employees had been rendered jobless because of the deal, which he reiterated, was “struck directly” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ambani.

“HAL has been the pride of India and Bengaluru. It has been working in Bengaluru for 30 years. It provides employment to 30,000 workers. HAL was looking forward anxiously to this deal. By the denial of work to HAL, 10,000 workers, including permanent employees will be losing their work. HAL was in the picture not only during the UPA government, but also during the NDA government. While HAL has been consigned to hell, Anil Ambani has been granted privilege entry into heaven. Ambani gains at the cost of HAL -- though he does not have experience,” the former Union minister said. Reddy held the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accountable. He took a dig at the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, whom he dubbed as a “lightweight”.

“She (Sitharaman) is the junior most politician in the history of India to be appointed Defence Minister. I would call her and many others in Modi Cabinet as upgraded junior ministers. They are so unknown, obscure and junior. Though Sitharaman’s initial intent was to disclose the prices, the Prime Minister had no such intent. She has no authority. The poor lady had to cut a sorry figure. This is a deal between Modi and Ambani,” he added.