NEW DELHI: Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale jet deal, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said the PM had run away from Parliament instead of answering questions over the issue. “So it seems our PM has fled Parliament & his own open book Rafale exam & is instead lecturing students at Lovely Univ. in Punjab, today. I request the students there too, respectfully, ask him to please answer the 4 questions posed to him by me, yesterday,” Rahul tweeted a day after the deal was hotly discussed in the Lok Sabha.
The debate remained inconclusive on Wednesday and Thursday. Rahul’s posers for Modi included the issues that the Congress chief had raised in Parliament on Wednesday. Rahul asked why 36 aircraft, instead of the 126 the IAF needed, were purchased and “why Rs 1,600 crore instead of Rs 560 core per aircraft, Modi Ji, please tell us why (Manohar) Parrikar Ji keeps a Rafale file in his bedroom & what’s in it and why AA instead of HAL.”
“Will he show up? Or send a proxy,” Rahul said while taking a dig at both the PM, who addressed students in Punjab, and finance minister Arun Jaitley, who had launched a counter-attack on Rahul in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi slammed Jaitley and called him a “defensive” minister of the government while neglecting his job as finance minister. “While Mr Jaitley is defending the government in Rafale scam, the latest RBI report has stated that bank frauds have risen over 72 per cent in 2017-18. Another report states that NPAs of MUDRA loans have doubled in a year. A third report reveals that new investments have plunged to a 14 year low in the Oct-Dec quarter,” said Singhvi.
On the Rafale deal, the Congress spokesperson said that if the aircraft were needed urgently, as claimed by Jaitley, why did the PM scrap the previous UPA deal of 126 aircraft, which was to be delivered by 2019. “If the cost of the aircraft was lesser than before, as claimed by the finance minister why did the government not increase the number of aircraft instead of decreasing it,” Singhvi added.