In Madhya Pradesh ahead of assembly elections, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi coined a fresh insult for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister has a bro code' with industrialists, he indicated, attacking the BJP over the Rafale deal that's one of the key planks of the party for the assembly and next year's general elections. Assembly elections will be held in Madhya Pradesh on November 28, in which the Congress is trying to dislodge the BJP, which has been ruling the state for three straight terms.
"He calls you mitron (friends) but calls Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi (industrialists wanted for the 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank scam), bhai (brother)," Mr Gandhi told his audience at Dabra in Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress has been alleging links between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the absconding industrialists since the scam surfaced in January.
The Prime Minister's favourite "bhai", Mr Gandhi said, was Anil Ambani, the chief of Reliance Defence that is at the centre of a political storm over the Rafale jetfighter deal with France.
"His facourite Bhai is Anil Ambani bhai... Hollande (former French president Francois Hollande) told us that Modi said India will give 1500 crore, but Anil Ambani must get contract," Mr Gandhi said.
The Congress allegations on the Rafale deal got a boost after the French media reported Francois Hollande saying that France was not given a choice in picking an Indian partner for defence manufacture in India. Aerospace major Dassault, the French media reported, had to select Anil Ambani's company for the joint venture as a "mandatory" trade-off to win the 59,000-crore deal.
Lending support to the claims initially made by former French president Francois Hollande, Mediapart reported that a Dassault officer, Loik Segalan, had told his staff that explained to his staff at a presentation last year that the joint venture with Reliance Defence was "imperative and obligatory". In face of denials from Dassault, Mediapart had stood by the story.
Denying all wrongdoing, the BJP has said Mr Gandhi is trying to make his political career by peddling lies on the Rafale deal.