The controversy over the intergovernmental deal between India and France to purchase the Rafale aircraft has reached completely new dimensions, crossing over from the realm of politics, into daily discourse - at least if one very viral marriage card is to be believed.
Over the last few weeks, as the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections loom closer, a number of cards have surfaced that carry some sort of political message. It's generally a 'Vote for Modi/BJP' or 'Vote for Rahul/Congress', and the specific card in question also has that message, but that's almost an afterthought in comparison to the massive 'fact-sheet' on Rafale that the married couple-to be have also published.
A photo of the card has been tweeted by BJP Karnataka MP Shobha Karandlaje, and says that the wedding is that of Yuvraj and Sakshi. The bottom of the card makes the couple's political preferences clear. It reads, "Our gift would be whatsoever you may wish to contribute towards BJP via NAMO app and your vote for...(BJP, indicated by lotus flowers)"
However, the really astounding part of the card is the page that carries "Some Facts about Rafale Deal", which in its header has two Rafale aircraft surrounding the words, "Keep calm and trust NAMO".
Some of the facts it speaks of are:
1. Even a fool won't compare prices of a simple flyaway aircraft with a weaponised jet
2. The price the Congress claimed to have negotiated isn't documented in any way
3. The Congress' claims of undue favour to Anil Ambani's Reliance are questioned based on the figure that's being quoted.
4. That a number of defence companies, from the private and public space, are offset partners.
5. UPA had also not given its backing to HAL
6. The Supreme Court had given the deal a clean-chit
7. UPA didn't manage to get the Rafale fighters delivered in 11 years
8. On the Opposition's demand that the matter be sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), the card says: "JPC is on matters of policy and not on investigations. Besides, the JPC is on partisan party lines. For instance, in Bofors, where a hand-picked JPC had termed the bribes given not as kickback but as winding up charges".
9. On the confusion surrounding the conversation Rahul Gandhi claimed to have had with the President of France.