I inherited stalemate from Antony, Manohar Parrikar says
NEW DELHI: Taking on his predecessor AK Antony, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the Congress leader cannot "escape" the responsibility for the "stalemate" that he created during his tenure.
The minister accused Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of raising important issues including "one rank, one pension" (OROP) without understanding it.
A combative Parrikar, who has been accused by the Congress of "compromising national security", said it took the brief spell of Arun Jaitley as the defence minister to start "moving the wheels" in the sector.
However, he said, he will not assess the damage caused due to the "stalemate".
"He (Antony) cannot escape the responsibility but I will not assess the level of damage because everyone has a style of functioning," Parrikar told PTI in an interview.
"What I inherited was stalemate. Arunji had tried and started moving the wheels. But in many issues, there was hardly any time for him because he was there only for five months. But he had started moving the wheels. I think I have started putting speed on that."
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He also wondered how can "anyone get away from the responsibility if something has not gone well".
Parrikar said he can give an excuse of paucity of time if somebody questions him why he has not completed the unfinished tasks since he has been in the ministry only for seven months.
"After one year, I still can complain that I could not complete many of my tasks. But if after two years, I complain that still many are pending, then I think I have no right to complain," he said.
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Last week, Antony attacked Parrikar for compromising on national security and questioned the high-profile Rafale warplane deal Prime Minister Narendra Modi clinched with French President Francois Hollande last month.
The minister also took on Rahul saying he was raising issues without understanding the subjects.
"These people don't have deep study," he said, adding Congress has been talking about many things without knowing what it is.
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"Yesterday, their general secretary (sic) Rahul was talking about OROP. He says he had kept Rs 500 crore. I will sign it tomorrow if it is Rs 500 crore," Parrikar said.