- Rahul Gandhi was speaking at a rally in Karnataka's Bidar
- One who committed theft could not look me in the eye: Rahul Gandhi
- Congress is taking on government on bank scams, Rafale deal and economy
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, saying, "One who committed theft could not look me in the eye". Recalling the debate in parliament during the no-confidence motion against the government, where he spoke at length on the aircraft deal with France, Mr Gandhi said, "He (PM Modi) could not look me in the eye. He looked everywhere but at me."
At a rally in Karnataka's Bidar today, Mr Gandhi reiterated his earlier challenge to PM Modi for a debate on Rafale. "Make me debate with Modi on Rafale for as long as you can, for as many hours as you can... and he would not be able to speak for one second," he said, reiterating the party's graft charges against the government.
Contending that the government is paying a huge amount of money for the fighter jets to favour a businessman, the Congress has demanded a price break-up. The government, it is says, has brought 36 Rafale fighters at thrice the price negotiated by the UPA government for 126 aircraft.
The 2008 agreement between France and India is regarding Defence cooperation and includes "acquisition, purchase and transfer of technology between the two nations" and the Prime Minister is "fully aware" of this, the Congress has contended. It was not specific to Rafale fighter jets and does not prohibit the disclosure of the purchase price, the letter read.
The BJP heaped scorn on Mr Gandhi, saying he was not worthy to have a debate with PM Modi.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also said Mr Gandhi was jittery after the Income Tax department opened assessment of a firm in which he and his mother Sonia Gandhi have majority share.
Accusing the Congress chief of repeatedly lying in his allegations of corruptions against the Modi government, Mr Prasad said, "If he thinks that his allegations of corruption against the government or the Prime Miniser will mitigate the action against him, then let me tell him that it is not going to happen".
The Congress has decided to take on the government on the issue of corruption by launching a public campaign that will highlight bank scams, Rafale deal and the state of the economy. The roadmap ahead of next year's general election was chalked out at a recent meeting of the Congress working committee, the party's highest decision-making body.
The no-confidence motion had turned out to the first of the two back-to-back reverses the party and the rest of the opposition suffered. The second was the recent election for the post of the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.