Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a one-on-one debate on the issue of Rafale fighter jets deal. Addressing a press conference after the debate in Parliament over Rafale, the Congress chief said that Prime Minister Modi did not have the “guts to face him”.
According to Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court never said that there should be no Joint Parliamentary Committee or investigation into the Rafale fighter jets deal between India and France. When asked if the Congress would probe the deal if voted to power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party chief said, “We will definitely investigate the Rafale deal.”
Rahul Gandhi also used the opportunity to hit out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who led the government offensive during Rafale debate in Lok Sabha, saying he “has a habit of repeatedly lying”.
“Jaitley has a habit of repeatedly lying; his defence on Rafale deal in Parliament was hollow...If prices of Rafale jets were brought down as claimed by Jaitley why did we not buy 126 aircraft or more,” said the Congress president.
Though he referred to Rafale as a “good aircraft”, the Congress chief added, “what we are saying is that the PM has changed the deal to benefit Anil Ambani.”
The Gandhi scion also questioned as to why the deal was defended in Parliament by Jaitley and not Prime Minister Modi or Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, "who were the decision makers in Rafale deal".
This came after Jaitley, during his speech in Lok Sabha earlier on Wednesday, lashed out at Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress chief “did not have a basic understanding of what a combat aircraft is”.
Jaitley further made reference to the opposition attack over selection of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as an offset partner for Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale jets, saying, “I feel sad that the Congress president does not know what an offset partner is.”