- "Two states announced farm loan waivers within six hours": Rahul Gandhi
- Mr Gandhi said he won't let PM sleep till centre waives farm loans
- He said a third state will soon announce farm loan waiver
Rahul Gandhi declared today that he would not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi "sleep or rest" till he gave a reprieve to farmers, holding up as an example his party's new governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which he said have announced farm loan waivers within six hours.
The third state, Rajasthan, will also do it soon, the Congress chief told reporters a day after three Congress leaders took oath as chief ministers of states which were close to the BJP. Top opposition leaders travelled with Rahul Gandhi to be part of the back-to-back ceremonies in the state capitals.
"Dekha apne? Kaam shuru ho gaya hai (Did you see? The work has already begun)," he said as soon as he reached the parliament.
Calling his party's victory in the recent state elections as the win of farmers, he claimed that PM Modi didn't waive even a single rupee of the poor farmers. Rahul Gandhi promised that farmers in all Congress-ruled states will get farm loan waivers and the BJP will be forced to do the same in the country.
"We won't let Modi ji sleep or rest or sit in peace until we make him waive farmers' loans," he announced.
His determination was, however, trashed by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who said, "This is a new low in public discourse in the country. But nothing better is expected from Rahul Gandhi whose party ensured that people of the country did not sleep for 60 years due to corruption, malgovernance and patronage of selected people."
Rahul Gandhi also accused PM Modi of "creating two Indias" and reiterated his charge that PM Modi isn't concerned about the farmers of the country and only cares about his 15-20 entrepreneur friends.
"On one side you have farmers, poor, youth, small traders and on the other you have the country's top 15 industrialists. He put Rs 3.5 lakh crore into their pockets," the Congress chief alleged.
Describing the notes ban in 2016 as the "world's biggest scam", Mr Gandhi said, "Demonetisation was also aimed at stealing money from the poor and giving it to the rich."
On the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, he said he is ready to talk, but the ruling BJP doesn't appear ready.
The Congress has been relentlessly alleging that the government scrapped the previous deal to sign a new one to help Anil Ambani's company bag an offset contract with Dassault. The costs jumped in this deal, the Congress president alleged.
"Aap JPC karwaiye, doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jayega (Let parliament panel probe the Rafale deal, everything will be clear)," he told NDTV, raising the Congress' demand for investigation by a joint parliamentary committee or JPC in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal with France's Dassault.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, ruled out a JPC probe saying "it isn't relevant after the Supreme Court's clean chit". The law minister also added that the JPC cannot be formed just "to satisfy the ego of a half-learned leader", but invited the Congress for a debate on the deal.
"I know why the Congress is running away from the debate. It is because if the debate happens, many skeletons in the cupboard of the Congress party will come out in defence deals," Mr Prasad said.
Last week, the top court had dismissed the need for a probe saying "there was no evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity".
The bench had based the judgment on a CAG or Comptroller and Auditor General report which it said had been examined by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC). However, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who heads the PAC, clarified that he had not received any such report.
The centre played it down saying it was just a "typo". "The Supreme Court misinterpreted that the Comptroller and Auditor General had examined the pricing of the jets and submitted its report," the centre said in its petition seeking correction of a "factual error" in its judgement.
Many typos will come out now, this is just the beginning, Rahul Gandhi said before signing off.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.