Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of using his courtesy visit to him for "petty political gains", asserting that there was no mention of the Rafale issue in their five-minute meeting.
In a letter to Gandhi, Parrikar asked the Congress chief to put out the truth and not to use his visit to an ailing person to "feed political opportunism". His letter came a day after Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, claiming that Parrikar, who is a former defence minister, had clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the 'new deal'.
Here is the full text of Manohar Parrikar's letter to Rahul Gandhi:
Yesterday i.e. on 29th January 2019, without any prior information, you called on me and enquired me about my health condition. We have a healthy political tradition in India to rise above bipartisan considerations and with even opponents a quick recovery from any ailments. I received your visit in that spirit fighting as I am with good medical care, a severe ailment. I appreciate your kind gesture.
However, reading media reports covering your visit to my office has caused me distress. It is reported in the media today that you have said quoting me that I was nowhere in the process of procuring Rafale nor did I have any information then about it. I feel let down that you have your petty political gains. In the 05 minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, nor did we discuss anything about/related to it. Nothing whatsoever about Rafale was even mentioned in your meeting with me.
The Inter Government Agreement (IGA) and the procurement of Rafale are as per Defence Procurement Procedure. I have said this before and wish to reiterate it again in today's context too. The fighter aircraft are procured following all stated procedures keeping national security as top priority.
Paying a courtesy visit and then stooping so low as to make a false statement for petty political gain has raised, in my mind, questions about the sincerity and purpose of your visit itself.
Here am I fighting a life-threatening illness. Due to my training and ideological strength, I wish to serve Goa and its people against any/all odds.
I thought your visit would give me your good wishes in that cause of serving our people. Little did I know that you had other intentions.
With deep disappointment, I write to you hoping that you would put out the truth. Kindly do not use your visit to an ailing person to feed political opportunism.
I remain in the service of the people of Goa and India.