- On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi had said PM "hiding in his room"
- PM Modi is on a day-long visit to Punjab
- Rahul Gandhi has posed 4 questions to PM on the Rafale jet deal
Rahul Gandhi today resumed his attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him in a tweet of "fleeing" parliament instead of facing questions on the Rafale jet deal. During a debate in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the Congress president had charged that the PM is "hiding in his room" and put up "four questions" on the Rs 58,000 crore deal.
PM Modi is on a day-long visit to Punjab, where he will inaugurate the Indian Science Congress and address its opening session.
"So it seems our PM has fled Parliament & his own open book Rafale exam and is instead lecturing students at Lovely University in Punjab, today. I request the students there to, respectfully, ask him to please answer the 4 questions posed to him by me, yesterday," tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
The questions revolved around the number of aircraft, pricing, claims about defence ministry objections and what the party called patronage.
So it seems our PM has fled Parliament & his own open book Rafale exam & is instead lecturing students at Lovely Univ. in Punjab, today.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 3, 2019
I request the students there to, respectfully, ask him to please answer the 4 questions posed to him by me, yesterday. #RafaleScam
Yesterday, the Congress chief spent much of the day flinging challenges at PM Modi.
One of these was pitched as an "open book exam" in parliament.
"Tomorrow, the PM faces an Open Book #RafaleDeal Exam in Parliament. Here are the exam questions in advance: Q1. Why 36 aircraft, instead of the 126 the IAF needed? Q2. Why 1,600 Cr instead of 560 Cr per aircraft. Q4. Why AA instead of HAL? Will he show up? Or send a proxy," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
The BJP seized on the missing question 3 and urged the Congress president to "forget open book, first learn counting". Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharman also attacked Mr Gandhi and tweeted, "A student who fails in the classroom boasts and challenges from outside."
Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who led the government's counter to Mr Gandhi's allegations, accused him of "lying repeatedly" . Responding to one of his points on the Rafale deal, Mr Jaitley also remarked that "it was a tragedy for the country that the Grand Old Party was headed by a gentleman who doesn't have the understanding of what a combat aircraft is."
The Congress and other opposition parties accuse the government of settling for an overpriced deal with Rafale-maker Dassault to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani, whose rookie defence firm Reliance Defence bagged an offset deal with Dassault, the company manufacturing the Rafale aircraft. Both Dassault and the government have denied the Congress allegations.