LUCKNOW: Escalating his attack on the Narendra Modi government, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal and accused the PM of favouring Anil Ambani's firm for production of the aircraft.
The Congress chief arrived on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Amethi on Monday.
Launching a broadside on the PM whom he addressed as 'Chowkidar', Rahul accused him of taking the money of poor and filling the pockets of Ambani. "The 'chowkidar' of the country has taken out Rs 20,000 crore from the pockets of the poor, martyrs and jawans to fill the pockets of Ambani," Rahul claimed. "They only talk about the 'truth' every day. Set up a JPC and the truth will unfold. But Arun Jaitley's boss Narendra Modi can't do it."
In a flurry of questions, Rahul asked the PM a flurry of questions, including the price of each jet and how the contract was awarded to the Anil Ambani group despite it not having any experience. "What is the hitch in disclosing the amount involved in Rafale deal? How was the contract given to Ambani and what is the PM's response to former French president Francois Hollande's stand over the deal?" he asked. "PM gives speeches but no answers...He does not have the courage to respond."
He repeated his jibe on Modi saying while the farmer, poor and downtrodden were suffering,
the government was doing everything to benefit selected 10 people, including the likes of Anil Ambani, Vijay Mallya, and Lalit Modi.
Playing a local card, Rahul claimed had the contract was not awarded to Anil Ambani's firm, the deal would have created jobs for youth of Amethi. "It could have given jobs to thousands of youth. The nation would have benefitted from it."
Referring to Hindustan Aeronautical Limited, he said the PSU was overlooked despite being in aviation sector for the last seven decades. "Anil Ambani has never made an aircraft in his life, and also has an outstanding bank loan of Rs 45,000 crore. He floated the company just 10 days before he got the contract."
Rahul also took swipe at defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman for not divulging the price of the aircraft on the alleged pretext of confidentially clause. He reiterated that there was no such secrecy pact as he was told by the French president himself.
Earlier, the Congress president started his Amethi visit with 'Shiv Aradhana' and was welcomed by Kanwariya Sangh. He offered prayers to Lord Shiva and was gifted with a memento of Lord Shiva.
Moreover, Amethi was flooded with posters of Lord Shiva, Kailash Mansarovar, and 'Shiv Bhakt' Rahul. The Congress MP laid the foundation stone of over a dozen works to be undertaken under the MPLAD scheme and also met volunteers of the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna being run by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in Nigoha area.