Rahul Gandhi on Rafale mission, to meet HAL staff in city

Bengaluru: To up pressure on the BJP-led NDA government over the controversial multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will arrive in Bengaluru on Saturday to hold a meeting with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Employees Association. This is being viewed as an effort to garner support for his campaign that HAL has been accorded shabby treatment while finalising the fighter deal with French company Dassault.

After a meeting of state Congress leaders here, KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao said Mr Gandhi will meet HAL employees and also address a party workers’ rally in the city. “It will be a quick visit, he will fly down to Bengaluru, head straight to the HAL employees meeting and then address party workers," Mr Gundurao said.

Mr Gandhi has been attacking the NDA government on the Rafale deal, accusing the Modi government and the PM in particular of helping out his “crony capitalist” friends  a reference to business magnate Anil Ambani who was chosen the offset partner for the Rafale deal which will reportedly benefit his company to the tune of around Rs 21,000 crore. Earlier, HAL was supposed to build some jets and the rest were to be supplied by Dassault.

Mr Gandhi had remarked that the country’s "chowkidar" Mr Modi had snatched money from the poor and handed it over to Anil Ambani. He had further charged that HAL which has been in the business of aircraft manufacture for 70 years, was given a raw deal and that Anil Ambani had not made an aircraft in his life and  had bank loans of Rs 45,000 crore.

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