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NCP chief Sharad Pawar claims he did not support Mr Modi on Rafale

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar — who is facing pressure from within his party for stating that the Rafale allegations did not dent Prime Minister Modi’s image — on Monday claimed that he, in fact, did not support Mr Modi.

Mr Pawar said that though he has no proof of corruption in the controversial deal, the government owed an explanation to Parliament for the “sudden hike” in the price of each aircraft from “Rs 650 crore to Rs 1,600 crore”.  Terming the increase “unimaginable”, the veteran leader said a Joint Parliam-entary Committee (JPC) was needed.

Mr Pawar was addressing the rally in Beed, Marathwada, on Monday where he repositioned himself over the Rafale controversy. “Rafale jets are good planes. When Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister and we were in government, this deal was finalized. But Modisaheb came to power. In our time, one aircraft cost Rs 650 crore. But during Modi’s it has risen to Rs 1,600 crore. Why? This government will have to answer,” said Mr Pawar.

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