28 March 2019
Panaji: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said late Manohar Parrikar as the Defence Minister was instrumental in getting the much-delayed Rafale jet deal on track.
Speaking at a condolence meeting, organised by the Goa government here, Singh said Parrikar had gauged the national mood in 2013 and requested him -- I was then BJP national president -- to make Narendra Modi the prime ministerial candidate.
"I remember the time. Rafale. For a long time, nearly 30 years, India did not have a next generation fighter plane. It was natural that the country would be worried. The Rafale deal was pending for a long time," Singh said.
"The Prime Minister gave him the responsibility and he (Parrikar) fulfilled it efficiently. I remember in 2016, there was a agreement with the French Defence Minister. If there is anyone to bring the Rafale deal on track, it was Parrikar," Singh said.
Modi had singled out Parrikar for the Defence Ministry job because of his character, quick decision-making ability and a fighter's attitude.
Singh also credited Parrikar for resolving the 'one rank, one pension' row and bringing the Defence Ministry's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project to the fruition.
Singh said it was Parrikar who over a cup of tea during the BJP national executive meeting in Goa first pitched for Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate.
"He said the country's mood seems to be that Modi should be PM. To that I had said the national executive is being held and some decision should be taken. In the same national executive, Modi was nominated election management committee chairman. He had foresight and the ability to analyse the future," Singh said.
The senior BJP leader also called Parrikar a spiritual person and said one does not need to pray in a temple, mosque or church to be spiritual. "All you need to be spiritual is a magnanimous and an elevated mind like Parrikar's," he said.