Rafale row: Parrikar slams Rahul for politicing visit; Congress chief says Goa CM ‘under pressure’

NEW DELHI: Hours after Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar slammed Rahul Gandhi for “politicising” their meeting, the Congress chief responded by saying he has not shared any details of the conversation between them and only stated what is in public domain.

In an open letter to Parrikar, Rahul Gandhi wrote, “My visit to you was strictly personal and driven purely by my empathy for your situation. You will no doubt recall that I also called you when you were undergoing treatment in the United States to enquire after your health and wished you well.”

He further said, “I have not shared any details of my conversation with you when we met in Goa yesterday. In my two speeches since we met, I have referred to what is already in the public domain.”

The Congress president said, “I understand the immense pressure you are under after our meeting yesterday. Pressure that has forced you to take the highly unusual step of demonstrating your loyalty to the PM and his cronies by attacking me in this uncharacteristic manner.

“Normally, I would have refrained from this exchange. Unfortunately, your leaked letter has forced me to clarify my position on this unfortunate and unnecessary controversy,” he wrote.

Earlier today, Parrikar had accused Rahul Gandhi of using his courtesy visit for “petty political gains”, asserting that there was no mention of the Rafale issue in their five-minute meeting.

Asking Gandhi to put forth the truth about their visit, he said, “Kindly do not use your visit to an ailing person to feed political opportunism.”

BJP president Amit Shah also slammed Rahul Gandhi, charging him with “lying” in the name of a person fighting a disease and claiming that people of India are “disgusted by your reckless behaviour”.

Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi had told the Congress workers in Kochi that the former defence minister had told him that he had nothing to do with the new Rafale fighter jet deal.

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