[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he BJP totally outsmarted Congress during the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Agusta Westland chopper scandal. All anticipated Subramanian Swamy will initiate the debate and Congress was very sure that he would take the name of Sonia Gandhi. Their plan was to disrupt the House as soon as Swamy names Sonia. Swamy as well as BJP leaders till yesterday afternoon were boasting that they would mercilessly attack Sonia, come what may and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar would table his speech and give it to the media. Congress held a strategy meeting at Sonia Gandhi’s home on Tuesday evening. The plan perhaps was to disrupt the debate totally as soon as Swamy names their party head. And as all secretive strategies go, this was selectively leaked to the media which went to town with it.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi had different ideas. On Tuesday, a meeting was held with Swamy and Parrikar at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Parliament. In the evening, another round of meeting was held at the PMO on the details to be brought in Parliament about the chopper deal. Parrikar charted out the major points to be exposed during the BJP MPs speech.
Firstly, the BJP leadership decided to change their speaking order. They led with Bhupender Yadav as the initiator of the debate. Parrikar gave the basic points to Yadav and the hard hitting ones to Swamy, enabling him to launch an all-out attack. This was totally unexpected. Yadav spoke in a cool manner and brought out all the details about the Chopper scandal and the wrongdoings that happened. The Congress plan was to field Abhishek Singhvi to counter Swamy’s allegations and nullify what Swamy spoke about the Italian Judgment.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ut since the BJP led with Yadav, Congress floor management plans got messed up and Singhvi ended up speaking before Swamy and actually helped him by suo moto talking about the Italian Judgment. So all the controversial points in the Italian Judgment came out from the Congress side and the plan to expunge Swamy’s controversial remarks were futile. Due to Singhvi’s speech, the Italian judgment became part of the Rajya Sabha proceedings. Otherwise, Congress could have used its might to expunge these from records if Swamy made observations against Sonia. After Swamy’s all out attack, Anand Sharma, and Antony’s speech had no teeth. About the only strategic thing Congress got right was to keep Manmohan Singh silent. Perhaps they knew Singh might collapse if he speaks.
Congress never thought their lies (colorfully termed Terminological inexactitudes by Swamy) floated through media that Vajpayee Government changed the flying height from 6000 meters to 4500 meters would be exposed. Defence Minister A K Antony was speechless when Swamy pointed out how Air Force prescribed Bench Mark Price of ₹753 crores ($113.2 million) was unjustifiably approved to ₹4937 crores ($742.1 million). The increase of cabin height to favour Agusta was also done during Antony’s regime. All these points were found by Parrikar’s meticulous research, squeezing it out of a work-shy bureaucracy.
This debate has energised the BJP MPs, facing the Congress rule the roost in Rajya Sabha for the past two years. Through Swamy’s speech Modi has sent a strong message to Sonia Gandhi and the top Congress leadership. It has inflicted fear on them. It was evident from Ahmed Patel and Antony’s speech about the possible recording of statement or questioning by CBI and ED sleuths on the wrongdoing in the Chopper scandal. In a nutshell, the better strategy won the day as the Government put all facts on record, facts that Congress wanted to expunge or destroy through disruption of the House.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.53 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
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