Rahul Dares PM Modi To One-On-One Debate

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NEW DELHI — Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that Congress was demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal because it is confident of its results. 

Repeatedly hitting out at the Modi government of trying to benefit Anil Ambani’s defence firm in the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi once again levelled allegation on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the reality is that Rs 30,000 crore has been given to Reliance’s Anil Ambani who he said has a loan of 45,000 crore. 

“We know that the PM is involved. We are asking for a JPC probe. We are saying let us not believe Congress or BJP. When the probe is completed, two names will be out: Anil Ambani and Narendra Modi,” Rahul Gandhi said in a press conference held immediately after a heated debate in the Lok Sabha on the issue.

Congress president dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a one-to-one debate on the Rafale deal or any strategic issue.

Rahul alleged that the PM did not have the “guts to face him”, adding that he would take only 20 minutes. 

Continuing with his attack, Rahul said, “Modi must answer whether Defence Ministry objected to the new deal and whose decision inflated the price of aircraft from Rs 526Cr to Rs 1600 Cr. And he must answer whether Airforce objected to this or not.”

Rahul further alleged that it was PM Modi who was responsible for the change in the deal. 

“Modi himself has taken the decision, but, he can’t defend himself. He is being defended by FM or DM…Former DM Manohar Parrikar has publicly stated that he had no clue of the change in the deal. And now we find out that he has all the files of Rafale in his bedroom,” said Rahul.

Earlier in the day, Calling the Rafale deal, a ‘kaali dal’, Gandhi said Prime Minister Modi couldn’t speak on the issue even in a 90-minute “staged interview” with news agency ANI on Tuesday.

Rahul, in the Lok Sabha, sought to play an unverified recording in which a Goa minister purportedly implies that former defence minister and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar is in possession of damaging files on the fighter jet deal.

Earlier high drama was witnessed in the Lok Sabha with Congress leader launching a tirade on Prime Minister Modi over the Rafale deal and alleging he did not have the “guts” to face Parliament and “was hiding in his room”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit back to accuse Gandhi of having a “legacy of lying” and “repeating falsehood” and alleged that “conspirators” of past defense scams are now raising fingers at others.

Gandhi cited a purported audio tape of a Goa minister on the Rafale deal which he refused to authenticate, but sought a JPC probe into the issue.

The Congress leader was disallowed from playing the purported audio tape by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan after Jaitley objected to the same unless Gandhi authenticated it and faced expulsion in case it is found to be false and fabricated.

 “Why did you give this contract to your dear friend Mr AA and cost the exchequer Rs 30,000 crore….

Earlier Gandhi said: “We demand a JPC in this matter. I tell the BJP leaders that there is nothing to worry. The truth will come out. The country will know that Narendra Modi, on whom they relied, will know that he bypassed the entire procedure and gave Rs 30,000 crore to AA.

 “The PM should come to the House and give answers…the entire country is pointing out at you Mr Modi,” Gandhi said.

Apparently targeting the Gandhi family, Jaitley said some people and their families understand the arithmetic of money but cannot comprehend issues of national security.

The finance minister also raised the AgustaWestland and the National Herald cases, and made a veiled reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi to attack the Congress leadership.

Jaitley also quoted a James Bond saying that when a mistake is repeated thrice “it is a conspiracy” and accused Gandhi of doing so. “The conspirators of various defence deals have the audacity to raise questions against others,” he said.

As Congress members protested in the house and also flew paper planes, on which a warning was issued by the Speaker, Jaitley said “when they say falsehood, they must listen to the truth also”.

Gandhi earlier rejected Prime Minister Modi’s claim in an interview that there was no personal allegation against him on Rafale, saying this is not true as the entire nation is asking him a direct question.

 “He (Modi) spoke for 90 minutes in a staged interview but still did not answer questions on the Rafale issue,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi posed several questions to Modi on Rafale and asked if it was not true that defense ministry officials objected to the new price of Rs 1600 crore against Rs 526 crore earlier.

He also accused Modi of favoring his “dear friend” and what he called “failed businessman” Anil Ambani.

When Gandhi said he did not wish to play the audio tape, alleging that the BJP members were “scared”, Jaitley hit back saying, “He knows it is wrong and hence is scared to authenticate it…this man lies repeatedly”.  

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