Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai’s expensive foreign wristwatch triggered a Twitter spat after state Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji raised the issue evoking spontaneous rebuttal from Annamalai who claimed he bought the Rafale watch, before he became president, with his hard-earned money and was willing to produce the bill.
Raking the issue, Senthil Balaji, took to Twitter, seeking to know if its being a nationalist to display a foreign wristwatch.
“Can you produce a receipt (for the watch purchased) within an hour?” the minister asked.
Also, he wanted to know how it was possible for Annamalai, who claimed to own four goats and cows, to afford the limited edition of Rafale watch costing about Rs 5 lakh. “Is it possible to buy for such a hefty sum?” Balaji asked.
The minister further claimed that the French firm produced only 500 wristwatches.
பிரான்ஸ் நிறுவத்திற்காக, உலகில் வெறும் 500 கை கடிகாரங்கள் மட்டுமே தயாரிக்கப்பட்ட, 5 லட்சத்துக்கும் மேல் விலையுள்ள Rafale watchஐ, வெறும் 4 ஆட்டுக்குட்டி மட்டுமே சொத்தென சொல்லும் ஆட்டுப்புளுகர் கட்டியிருக்கிறார். அவர் வாங்கின ரசீதை ஒரு மணி நேரத்திற்குள் வெளியிட்டால் (1/3)
— V.Senthilbalaji (@V_Senthilbalaji) December 17, 2022
The Rafale watch, which the BJP president sports, is a limited edition made by the French company marking the handing over of the Rafale fighter jets to India.
Responding to the unsavoury jibes, Annamalai replied, “since @arivalayam wants to fight on the issue of corruption with me, I’m more than ready to do that. The details of my Rafale watch, which was purchased in May 2021, along with its bill (before I became TN BJP President), All of my lifetime Income Tax statements…”
Indicating that he would soon put all his lifetime income tax returns statement in the public domain, he said in another tweet, “Photocopies of my 10 years of all of my bank accounts (every single income I had received will be shown), all my earnings as an IPS officer from Aug 2011 & till I resigned, details of all of the immovable properties I own that is more than 1 Lakh.” The number of sheep and cows he owned will be released on the day he would start padayatra in Tamil Nadu “to meet the people who adore our Hon PM Thiru @narendramodi avl – which will be very soon,” he said.
The former IPS officer had joined the BJP in August 2020 and was appointed as party president in July last year.
On the minister’s dig at the Centre’s flagship programme, wondering if the Rafale wristwatch was a symbol of “Make in India” programme, Annamalai replied that he loved to wear it as “the watch was made when India ordered aircraft from Rafale.” “It is made of parts from the aircraft. There are only 500 such watches. It is a collector’s edition called the Rafale special edition. I did not get an opportunity to fly the Rafale aircraft, so as a nationalist I am wearing the watch,” Annamalai said while speaking to reporters here on Sunday.
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He would continue to wear the watch as long as he lived. “Who else in the world would buy a Rafale watch? Only an Indian will. So, for the sake of the country I am wearing a watch produced by Dassault Aviation, made of parts from the Rafale aircraft because I am a nationalist. I am not a person who speaks division,” the BJP chief said.
This not the first time the two have been at loggerheads. Annamalai had been critiical of the minister, who holds the portfolio of prohibition, too. When the Coimbatore blast occurred, Balaji remarked the the NIA should first investigate the BJP leader, as he appeared to know who the culprits were.