In the midst of a massive controversy over Rafale flghter jet deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday paid visit to the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru. During his visit, the Gandhi scion interacted with some working and retired employees of the aerospace company in the context of not getting offset contract from the Rafale deal. The Congress has been allowed to conduct the meeting for about 90 minutes from 3:30 pm. The interaction is going on in the Square circle where a replica of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, built by HAL for the Indian Air Force (IAF), is on display for the public.
Earlier, the Congress president said there was a need to "defend the dignity of India's defenders" as he accused the Narendra Modi government of "snatching" the Rafale offset contract from HAL and "gifting" it to Anil Ambani's company.
"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. "Come defend the dignity of India's defenders. I am in Bengaluru to stand with HAL's employees. Join me outside HAL HQ, at 3 PM," he added.
It’s been a quite long time now that the Congress chief has been attacking the Modi government over the Rs 58000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal alleging corruption and favouritism.
Here are the Highlights:
The Congress has a long history of nurturing HAL into an institution that builds world-class aircraft. We will continue to support this important institution. #RahulGandhiWithHAL pic.twitter.com/oc0Ik7W2tQ— Congress (@INCIndia) October 13, 2018
I want to commit to you that Public Sector is the backbone of the country and its Defence Forces: Rahul Gandhi
I apologize to HAL, on behalf of Govt of India as I know they will not do anything to rectify the situation: Congress President
Defence Minister says HAL does not have the capability. What capability does the private individual have? I can see the 70+ years of progress made by HAL, says Rahul Gandhi
Public Sectors are the temples of modern India. We cannot allow them to be destroyed. If somebody thinks they can build their future on your graves, that cannot be allowed. We are going to fight for your future: Congress President
HAL is Pride of Karnataka. Our identity is taken away by Govt of India. We will not allow this. Today's Rafale issue is not just a corruption issue, but also of PSU which is the backbone of India: Mr. Umesh, Trade Union Activist
In 2015, a Kamov 220 Helicopter manufacturing agreement was signed, but there are no funds allocated by the govt to commence the project: Shivlingaiah, HAL Employee
During the Cold War, HAL was the only company that had an opportunity to work with Russian technologies. It is the best organisation in Asia: Babu T Raghav, former Engineer of IAF
Whenever HAL representatives visited our squadrons, we knew there are new hopes and new technologies. HAL and IAF are like two wings of one flight: Babu T Raghav, former Engineer of IAF
Defence production cannot be given to private individuals. It is a strategic asset: Mahadevan, former HAL employee
Bengaluru was the Public Sector Capital of India. Protecting our employment is the most important thing. In the new Rafale agreement, there is no transfer of technology: Mr. Mahadevan, former HAL employee
For the first time in my life, I have seen the govt issuing a directive advising employees against attending an event: Mr. Sirajuddin, Retd HAL Employee
HAL is leading the aviation industry in South East Asia. Do you want to kill this industry? It is an insult and injury. We will not tolerate this: Mr. Sirajuddin, Retd HAL Employee
I have come here to listen to you how this strategic asset can be made more effective and the type of difficulties you are facing, the Congress chief said
When Mr. Obama says there are only 2 countries that challenge USA are India and China, you(HAL) are an important part of it, says Gandhi
HAL, for me, is not just a company. It is an institution. When we got our independence, India built strategic assets to enter aerospace sectors. The work you have done is tremendous & the country owes a huge debt to you: Rahul Gandhi
When Mr. Obama says there are only 2 countries that challenge USA are India and China, you(HAL) are an important part of it, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi
I have come here to listen to you how this strategic asset can be made more effective and the type of difficulties you are facing, says Rahul Gandhi
We have been insulted and let down. A company of 70 years of experience is thrown out of the Rafale agreement. I do not understand. A large and experienced company that should have been improved. You are killing us, says Mr. Sirajuddin, Retd HAL Employee
"HAL is not just a company, when India got independence, India built some strategic assets to enter specific areas, HAL is a strategic asset to take India into aerospace. The work you have done for this country is tremendous and the country owes a debt to you," says Rahul Gandhi in Bengaluru.
Rahul Gandhi interacts with serving and former HAL employees in BengaluruOctober 13, 2018
Ahead of the interaction with HAL employees, Congress President Rahul Gandhi meets Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru
Rahul Gandhi will attend a public meeting in Bengaluru on the Rafale scam.