Nirmala Sitharaman’s point-by-point rebuttal on Congress’ Rafale charge
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered a sharp counter offensive to the fiery debate in the Lok Sabha on the Rafale deal on Friday. Taking on the Congress, Sitharaman blamed the party for spreading falsehood and ignoring national security concerns when it was in power. She alleged that “something did not suit them”, which stalled the signing of the deal with French aircraft manufacturer Dassault during the UPA rule. She also countered the allegation that the NDA government reduced the number of Rafale fighter jets to be purchased from France. “The UPA government wanted only 18 flyaway fighter jets. UPA created a deadlock,” she said. Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi stepped up attack on the Modi government over the Rafale deal. He posed a series of questions including why the number of Rafale aircrafts to be purchased was reduced from 126 to 36 by the NDA government.