Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. (Source: PTI)

Reservations: Modi Defends Quota Bill, Asks Congress To Prove Rafale Allegations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday defended introduction of the 10 percent quota for the economically backward persons in the general category, adding that the bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha is a strong answer to those “spreading lies”.

Targeting the Congress at a public rally in Solapur, Modi asked it to clarify what was driving its ongoing allegations on the Rafale fighter jet procurement issue.

Modi said the rights of deprived sections, including Dalits and tribals won’t be affected because of this bill, adding that he hopes that the bill will be passed in the Rajya Sabha too. He termed the the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha as a historic step aimed at welfare of the deprived sections.

The Congress has protested the “hasty” introduction of the bill. However, the prime minister instead primed an attack on Congress.

Also read: Will Modi’s Upper Caste Quota Gamble Pay Off?

He claimed that alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland chopper case, was lobbying for French manufacturer Rafale’s rivals in the multi-role aircraft deal. “During the earlier (UPA) regime, the middlemen culture had become a part of the system. They had snatched the rights of the poor and also played with the security of the nation.”

Citing media reports, Modi said Michel was lobbying for “some other contender” as well.

“He (Michel) has made a shocking revelation. As per media reports, he was not just involved in the helicopter deal but also involved in the deal of the fighter planes (Rafale), when the earlier government was in power,” Modi said.

“Media says that Michel was also lobbying for some other company. Congress should answer which leader of their party, now shouting about this (Rafale deal), has a connection with Michel. They should give an account of each and every penny spent,” he said.

Continuing his criticism of the previous Congress-led regime, Modi said it indulged into vote bank politics and ignored the development of the country’s backward areas. “After coming to power, we undertook developmental works and projects in areas which were ignored only because they (Congress) indulged in vote bank politics. We managed to uproot this attitude of vote bank politics and have undertaken a slew of projects in areas where they were needed.”

On the passage of the Citizenship Bill, seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangaldesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Modi assured people of Assam and North-East that their rights will not be curtailed in any way through the bill’s provisions.

Also read: Economically Weak Upper-Caste Quota: Will Voters Believe the Sham?

Bloomberg Quint

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