Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday charged the Congress and Congress culture with inflicting deep damage to the country’s defense sector.
Answering a question at his interaction with booth level cadres in Tamil Nadu’s Arakkonam, Dharmapuri, Cuddalore, Erode and Krishnagiri districts through video conference, Modi said: “It is not just the party but the Congress culture that is most dangerous.
“Many people think the biggest failure of the previous Congress government was its mismanagement of the economy and corruption. But they did deep damage to our armed forces too.
“It is just not the party but it is the Congress culture that is most dangerous. Not many know how much damage Congress culture did to our defense sector.
“For decades they had made defense sector a den of brokers and middlemen,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that during the Congress regime, procurement would happen only when there was a “deal” and if there was no “deal” no military purchase would be made.
Modi said that in 2004-14 when one of India’s neighbors added 400 fighter planes to its fleet and another neighbor increased its fleet of fighter planes, many of which were 4th and 5th generation fighter planes, the Congress stopped defense procurement for want of a “deal”.
This caused huge damage to the armed forces, he said.
Referring to British middleman Christian Michel who was brought to India in connection with the AgustaWestland scam, Modi said he was known to the “first family of the Congress”.
Modi said the people of India deserved to know how Michel knew about Cabinet meetings, the status of government files and the role he played in delaying the procurement of Rafale fighter planes.
According to Modi, he (Modi) knew would pay a costly price for ending corruption in military purchases.
“When it comes to national security, I always say India first.”
He said he cannot sit quietly when Indian soldiers need support.
Modi said there used to be a big industry of middlemen and brokers that ate into the benefits targeted for the poor.
He said there was a culture of “cuts and commissions” and this had now been substituted by direct transfer of benefits to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
Modi said that by linking bank accounts with Aadhaar, a system was built to reach the benefits to the poor.
He said more than Rs 5.5 lakh crore had been transferred directly to people.
Modi said: “Rs 90,000 crore was saved from falling into the hands of middlemen. I knew they would hit back.
“Before 2014, corruption was institutionalized. Today, honesty is institutionalized.”
Asked about the BJP’s probable electoral partners in Tamil Nadu, Modi said the party’s doors were open.
He urged the party cadres to be on the Narendra Modi mobile app as there was a lot of disinformation in the social media about his government.