‘Less than 6 hours left...’: Rahul Gandhi nudges Arun Jaitley over Rafale deal
Rahul Gandhi had announced the 24-hour challenge in response to Arun Jaitley’s 15 questions for the Congress in a blog post accusing the Congress chief of “peddling untruth” on the Rafale deal.Updated: Aug 30, 2018 15:23 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday told finance minister Arun Jaitley that the country was waiting for a decision on a joint parliamentary committee on the Rafale deal after giving him 24 hours to “check and revert” on the issue.
Gandhi had announced the 24-hour challenge in response to Jaitley’s 15 questions for the Congress in a blog post accusing the Congress chief of “peddling untruth” on the Rafale deal. Gandhi, in a tweet, told Jaitley that time was running out.
“Dear Mr Jaitley,Less than 6 hrs left for your deadline on the #Rafale JPC to run out. Young India is waiting. I hope you’re busy convincing Modi Ji and Anil Ambani Ji about why they should listen to you & approve this!” he posted.
The tweet reminder came as Youth Congress workers gathered outside the party office in preparation for a protest march to prime minister Narendra Modi’s residence on the issue.
The Congress, which has vigorously attacked the government over the Rafale issue, has launched a programme all over the country to “apprise people” on the deal. Party leaders are holding press conferences around India, which will be followed by plans for district and state level agitations on the issue.
Jaitley on Wednesday claimed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government negotiated hard to keep the price of Rafale jets down by at least 20% per aircraft in its 2016 deal, as compared with the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) deal of 2007.
In an interview to news agency ANI, he said the fighters were coming to India “fully loaded” and the deal was between the two governments, without anyone in between.
Dismissing Gandhi’s charge that the Rafale jet being purchased by the present government is more expensive, Jaitley said that every point made by the opposition party is “factually false”. He asserted that no rules were bypassed and the Cabinet Committee on Security approval was taken during the deal, and negotiations took about 14 months to complete.
Watch: Congress peddling falsehoods on Rafale deal pricing, says Arun Jaitley
The deal has also become controversial because one of the offset deals signed by Dassault is with the Reliance Group of Anil Ambani. The Congress alleges the earlier deal was scrapped and a new one signed just to provide Ambani this opportunity for an offset deal. Both the government and Reliance have repeatedly denied this.
Reacting to Jaitley’s remarks, the Congress reiterated its demand for a JPC probe. “If Modi government has nothing to hide, why can’t they agree to the JPC probe?” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
Shortly after Jaitley’s interview was published, Gandhi also hit back.
“Mr Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation’s attention back to the GREAT #RAFALE ROBBERY! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee to sort it out? Problem is, your Supreme Leader is protecting his friend, so this may be inconvenient. Do check & revert in 24 hrs. We’re waiting!” he tweeted.
First Published: Aug 30, 2018 14:48 IST