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Rahul Gandhi ‘missed a great opportunity’ in his speech: ArunJaitley

Arun Jaitley challenged claims made by Rahul Gandhi in his speech during the debate on the no-confidence motion and criticised him for quoting a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on the Rafale deal.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2018 22:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Arun Jaitley,Rahul Gandhi,Arun Jaitley's blog
In a blog post on Facebook, Union minister Arun Jaitley was critical of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha during the no-confidence motion debate on Friday.(PTI File Photo)

Critiquing Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Parliament on Friday during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government, senior BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said, the Gandhi scion “missed a great opportunity”.

The BJP leader parsed the speech for being low on facts and for trivialising the debate.

“A vote of no-confidence against the government is a serious business. It is not an occasion for frivolity. The lead participants in the debate are normally senior political leaders. They are expected to raise the level of political discourse. If a participant happens to be a President of a national political party nourishing Prime Ministerial aspirations, every word he speaks should be precious,” Jaitely said in a blog.

On Friday, the government won the no-confidence motion moved by the Telugu Desam Party with a comfortable 325 votes against the opposition’s 126.

Gandhi, who hit headlines for his impromptu hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attacked the government for failing to fulfil its promise to provide jobs to the youth, and accused it of fostering crony capitalism and wrongdoing in the Rafale deal.

Jaitley, however hit back, challenging Gandhi’s claims. He also criticised the Congress president for quoting a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on the Rafale deal.

“One should never misquote a conversation with a Head of Government,” Jaitley said, adding, that by “…Concocting a conversation with President Macron, Gandhi had lowered his own credibility and seriously hurt the image of an Indian politician before the world at large.”

“…He [Gandhi] now seeks to embarrass Dr Manmohan Singh by implicitly insinuating that Dr Singh was a witness to the conversation being wholly unaware that his own government had entered into the secrecy pact. Rahul has repeatedly shown that he is ignorant of facts. But to insist on disclosure of financial details, which indirectly involves the disclosures of the strategic equipment on the aircraft, is to hurt national interest. Cost gives away a clue to the weaponry in the aircraft,” he wrote.

The Congress party however, hit back pointing out that Gandhi’s speech established the fact that Congress will fight 2019 on a “positive agenda” and BJP will fight on “propaganda”, and that Jaitely’s blog is “meant for pleasure reading of his political boss, but for others it’s a fictional column devoid of reality.”

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, “The entire country witnessed that Mr Gandhi spoke on issues concerning the nation and Mr Modi spoke only on the opposition. The honourable PM failed miserably in giving a fact and statistics based rebuttal to Mr Gandhi and once gain used his stale, repetitive, overused rhetoric loaded with hatred for the opposition.”

In an oblique reference to the commendation for Gandhi’s speech in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley had a terse comment to make.

Jaitley said, “Hallucinations can give momentary pleasure to a person. Therefore, to hallucinate after an embarrassing performance that he has won future election or to hallucinate that he is the reincarnation of Mark Antony being complemented by friends and foes alike, may give him self-satisfaction but for serious observers it is more than just self-praise – in fact a serious problem.”

Commenting on the political sparring, N Bhaskara Rao of the Centre for Media Studies, an independent multi-disciplinary research organisation said senior leaders of both sides must show the way forward by putting an end to controversies that fuel polarisation. “The need of the hour is conciliation, cooperation and consultation. We need to get out of the current tangle and realise our potential and end polarisation,” Rao said.

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 15:49 IST