Manohar Parrikar and Rahul Gandhi | PTI
Manohar Parrikar and Rahul Gandhi | PTI
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Congress president Rahul Gandhi met Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Tuesday during his visit to the state with his mother Sonia Gandhi.

New Delhi: In his much-hyped meeting with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday in Panaji, Congress president Rahul Gandhi exchanged a couple of sentences with the ailing former defence minister about pollution.

“Pollution in Delhi becomes very bad and hence coming to Goa is good,” Gandhi told Parrikar while asking about his health.

This was the sum and substance of their less-than-five-minute meeting.

It was also their second meeting after Parrikar fell ill — Gandhi had met him in the national capital in October last year, when the former defence minister was admitted in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Sources close to the Chief Minister’s Office said it was just a quick meeting Tuesday between the two during which Gandhi inquired about Parrikar’s health. Asked if anything related to the controversial Rafale deal was discussed, a source laughed it off, saying that the discussion was about how beautiful Goa is and the pollution in Delhi.

Sources said Gandhi informed the CM that he had come to Goa with his mother Sonia Gandhi “few days back”.

Gandhi later tweeted about his “personal visit” to wish Parrikar a speedy recovery.

Also read: Parrikar has explosive Rafale secrets, gives him power over PM Modi: Rahul Gandhi

Planned meeting

Sources said that the CM’s office was approached Monday for a possible meeting. This was readily agreed to, they added.

According to the plan, Gandhi was supposed to meet Parrikar in the morning at his residence. However, Parrikar had to leave for the Assembly and so the two met at the Chief Minister’s secretariat.

The meeting led to a lot of buzz in the wake of the Rafale fighter aircraft controversy.

On 2 January, Congress released an audio clip alleging that Parrikar in a December 2018 cabinet meeting admitted to holding a bunch of files related to the Rafale deal.

On Monday, Gandhi termed the ‘Goa audio tapes’ released by a Congress legislator as authentic and said Parrikar “is in possession of explosive Rafale secrets”.

Gandhi had also said that the files gave Parrikar an edge over Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“30 days since the Goa Audio Tapes on RAFALE were released. No FIR or enquiry ordered. No action against the Minister either! It’s obvious that the tapes are authentic & that Goa CM, Parrikar, is in possession of explosive RAFALE secrets, that give him power over the PM,” Gandhi tweeted Monday.

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