Prime Minister Narendra Modi dug himself into another controversy by saying how former PM Rajiv Gandhi used the INS Viraat, a naval warship, to go on a holiday. The administrator of Lakshadweep speaking to an Indian news channel said that INS Viraat was indeed stationed in Lakshadweep but the Gandhis were not holidaying aboard the ship.
The IAS officer Wajahat Habibullah remembering Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi landed in Lakshadweep in a government chopper said, “INS Viraat was in the sea for the PM’s backup security. The Prime Minister needs backup security and in the middle of the ocean, there’s no other option other than warships. Rajiv Gandhi went to Lakshadweep on an official meeting and decided to stay back when his guests also joined him. No foreigner or even the guests were allowed onboard INS Viraat.”
Habibullah added that calling the Prime Minister’s for violating the model code of conduct for making these unverified statements.
Narendra Modi made these allegations at a public rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday. Modi said, “Have you ever heard that someone uses INS Viraat to enjoy holiday? It happened when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM of this country? INS Viraat, which was deployed on sea borders, was sent to facilitate a holiday for 10 days. Even his in-laws were onboard INS Virat. Foreigners were allowed to enter the INS Viraat, was it not a compromise with National security? They put nation first and security of Indian citizens second.”
This has triggered a major war of words between the BJP and Congress with PM Modi, Union minister Arun Jaitley and several other leaders taking potshots at the Gandhis for using the INS Viraat for private vacations.
INS Viraat was Indian Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier. It was commissioned in 1987 and served the Indian Navy for almost 30 years.
Source : Various