NEW DELHI: A day after the Supreme Court ruled out any wrongdoing by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the Rafale jet deal with France, the ruling BJP on Friday said that it will hold countrywide protests against Rahul Gandhi and his party on November 16 for making false claims on the issue.
According to news agency ANI, the BJP leaders and functionaries will hold protests outside the Congress party offices in Delhi and other parts of the country to highlight how Rahul Gandhi and his party misled the nation over the Rafale issue and will demand an apology over the same.
In a major embarrassment for the Congress, the Supreme Court on Thursday not only dismissed the review petition in the Rafale deal but also issued a word of caution for its leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the apex court.
The Congress party had launched an aggressive political campaign alleging corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal issue during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The party also contested the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in December 2018 making Rafale as its main poll plank.
After the top court verdict, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for "lying" about the Rafale deal.
Prasad said that Rahul not only dragged Dassault and Reliance, the companies that were involved in the agreement, but also the former presidents of France.
"Earlier he (Rahul Gandhi) created furore saying that PM Modi gave the deal to Reliance, then Dassault said that decision is taken by them not the Indian government," Prasad said.
JP Nadda, BJP working president, also slammed the Gandhi scion and demanded an apology from him.
"Rahul Gandhi and his party tried hard to mislead the country on this issue but the truth prevailed," the BJP working president said. "Rahul Gandhi should an offer apology to the nation," Nadda demanded.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did not take any names but said that matters related to defence should not be politicised.
He also slammed Congress party for maligning the image of PM Modi and demanded an apology.
The apex court on Thursday dismissed the review petitions against its verdict in the Rafale deal on grounds that they lacked merit, reiterating its clean chit to the Modi government in the fighter jet agreement with French firm Dassault Aviation.
In another verdict, the apex court closed the contempt plea against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his "chowkidar chor hai" remark against Modi in connection with the Rafale case.
The court said the remarks made by Gandhi were far from true and he should have refrained from those and should have been careful.
“It is unfortunate that without any verification certain remarks were made by the contemnor (Rahul Gandhi) against the prime minister," a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said.
The verdict of the SC in the two cases could impact the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections in Jharkhand and Delhi, where the Congress would be up against arch-rival BJP. The immediate problem for Congress is that the winter session of the Parliament is scheduled to start on 18 November.