Hon'ble Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi's Interaction with HAL Workers at Minsk Square, Bengaluru
ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE
24, AKBAR ROAD, NEW DELHI
Highlights of the CP SpeechOctober 13, 2018
Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi today addressed the present and former HAL workers at Minsik Square, Bangalore.
In his opening remarks, Shri Rahul Gandhi said- Namaskar! Thank you very much for inviting me here. It is an honour for me to come here.
I want to begin by saying HAL for me is not just a company. It is not like any other ordinary company. When we got our independence, India built a couple of strategic assets. These assets were designed to enter particular spaces. IIT was a strategic asset to enter the higher education space. In the same way HAL is a strategic asset to take India in to the Aero space and so I would start by saying you are not an ordinary company, you are not just a regular company and with all my heart, I want to tell you; and I want to tell all the people who have worked in HAL before you that the work you have done in this company, the work you have done for this country is tremendous and the country owes its debt to you for protecting us and for creating a scientific atmosphere, a scientific vision for this country. You are part of that vision.
When Mr. Obama says that the only countries that can challenge the United States in the future are India and China, one reason Mr. Obama says is that is because of the work that you have done. So I come here with all humility and I come here to listen to you. I don’t come here to tell you what I think. I have come here to listen to you because I want to understand how this strategic asset can be made more effective for our country and our country’s future.
I want to understand the type of difficulties that you are facing, the type of issues that you face on a daily basis so that we can try and help you if there is something that we can do. Okay, we are in opposition! But if there is something we can do to help you, we would like to do it. When we come to government, we would like to do it even more aggressively. So, I am not going to take much more of your time. Right now I am going to let you speak and I want to Thank you and all employees – past, present and future as well.
Closing remarks of Shri Rahul Gandhi-
Shri Rahul Gandhi said- There are a couple of questions that you have raised. Two lines struck in my mind. Number one is that these are the temples of modern India and what is happening is that the temples of modern India are being attacked and destroyed and we cannot allow that- by we, I mean you and all of us - cannot allow the temples of modern India to be destroyed. It is not going to be allowed. The second point that someone raised that you have worked now for 70 years. If somebody thinks that they can build their future on top of your graves that is also not going to be allowed. You have spent 70 years working, developing all this capability, we can see all these Advance Light Helicopters, we can see Tejas, we can see all these aircrafts that you built, it cannot be that- this is not worth anything. There is tremendous amount of experience that you have and this cannot just be destroyed or wiped out in this manner. So I want to make it very clear to you- I know you are fighting for this but please know that we are also going to fight for it, we are not going to allow it.
Now, I have not come here to give you a political speech, to have a political meeting but I do want to point out one thing which somebody else said. Somebody said that a very senior person in the Government has said that a HAL does not have a, what is the wording that is used, ‘capability’, it does not have the ‘capacity’. Well, what about the person, who got the contract? What capacity does he have? So, I can see HAL capacity here, I can see all these pictures here. I can see Sukhoi, I can see Chetak, I can see all these things - this is your capacity. I can see 78 years of your work. I remember when I was small, everybody used to talk about the Gnat Aircraft that defeated the F-100 aircraft, Sabre Jet this is common knowledge, who gave it – HAL gave it. So, you have a history, you have experience, you have carried out this work for the country and I understand deeply that you are pained and you are hurt and this is as important to me as any corruption or any other thing that has happened that people who have given their life. People who have stood by this country are feeling emotionally upset because they have been insulted.
I know the Government is not going to apologize but on their behalf, I apologize to you. Even though I have nothing to do with it, I understand that you are hurt and I want to stand with you in your discomfort. What is the experience exactly that the person, who got the contract has? Your company has been there for 78 years; his company has been here for 10 days. Does HAL have any debt on it? No – Zero – in fact I believe the government has taken Rs. 5,000 crore from you – Right ! The person who has supposedly got contract has no experience, has got Rs. 45,000 crore debt. So, this is a completely ridiculous that they can say that HAL does not have experience and even if they make that statement, then certainly the person who has got the contract has Zero experience - not even 1% experience. They have never built the plane.
I wanted to commit to you here that the public sector is the backbone of this country, it is the backbone of Bangalore, it is the backbone of the Defence forces and I am not just talking about HAL, I am also talking about ISRO, I am talking about NAL, I am talking about HAL. I am talking about DRDO. All these industries, companies that work together to make sure that India is protected that allow us to feel secure, that allow us to sleep comfortably at night, through you I want to give them a message that we are going to protect your future and we are going to fight, we are going to fight for your right.
This Rafale contract is your right. You are the only company in this country that has the experience to build that plane and this type of thing should be done on merit. One should clearly look what is merit, does HAL have merit, has HAL got capability or does the other gentleman have merit? Make a clear objective decision based on merit and nobody in the world if he is acting objectively and if he is acting clearly on merit, nobody in the world can take the contract away from HAL, it cannot be. Logically and the whole country understands this. You know you said that you have invited me here and you are speaking to me because if you say it media will not listen; but I myself tell you that media does not listen to us these days. Look they are laughing - they are laughing over there but its true, if you see these people - they want to listen to us but the people on top of them - they do not want. Their bosses do not want this type of a conversation to be heard. That is the truth of India today.
You are the people, who spent your lives working; you are the people who work with your hands, who are the people who built this Tejas plane here; these are the people who built it. How can someone say that people who have built this plane have no experience? So I stand with you 100%. If ever you want to speak to me about your issues, if ever you need my support, if ever anybody else in the defence public sector companies wants to tell me anything, want me to help them in anything, want me to raise any issue, 24x7 I salute you, I am ready to do it for you – 24x7 – you can wake me up at 5 in the morning, 4 in the morning and say Look, DRDO has a problem, HAL has a problem, please come to HAL and raise our issues, I will be available for you.
Let me tell you, this is not going to be easy because the forces that are trying to take away your future, all public sectors, all defence related units, they are quite powerful and they are quite connected. So it is not going to happen just with one speech, it is going to happen by building a relationship between you and us, by us knowing exactly what is concerning you, by us knowing exactly what is disturbing you and by you being able to have a free conversation with us. That was the spirit of me coming here.
Here, I do not want to raise issues of corruption and stuff. There is another place to raise that, I am raising that but here I have purposely only spoken about HAL, the merit and ofcourse that a lot of people have not been allowed to come from there and I understand that the management might be under pressure, I understand that but this is the message for them also that we are speaking for you also. Even though you are being pressurized, we are speaking for you and we fundamentally believe that India’s defence preparedness can only be saved if companies like HAL, DRDO and NAL are safe and protected.
So, I would like to again thank you all, I would like to thank Siddaramaiah Ji, Reddy Ji, Venugopal Ji, Parameshwara Ji, PCC President and all of you, who have come here, all the people who have spoken, with all my heart would like to thank you very much.