Rahul Gandhi meets HAL employees, slams Centre for ‘snatching’ their deal

Bengaluru: Rahul Gandhi will meet employees of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL on Saturday, amid allegations and counter-allegations over the Rafale fighter jet deal and its offset clause.

Scaling up his attack on Narendra Modi government, Rahul Gandhi has claimed that Dassault, the firm that makes the Rafale jet, has been pressured by the government to select Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as its offset partner, instead of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The government has rubbished Gandhi's claim.

Gandhi, who is "standing in support" of HAL, will meet and interact with the employees of the public sector unit outside its headquarters in Bengaluru.

The Congress chief said there was a need to "defend the dignity of India's defenders" as he accused the government of "snatching" the Rafale offset contract from HAL.

"HAL is India's strategic asset. The future of India's aerospace industry has been destroyed by snatching #Rafale from HAL & gifting it to Anil Ambani," the Congress president tweeted ahead of his visit.

"Come defend the dignity of India's defenders. I am in Bengaluru to stand with HAL's employees. Join me outside HAL HQ," he added.

Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Modi government over the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal accusing the prime minister of "corruption".

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