A debate in parliament and a press conference later, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi continued the attack on the government over the Rafale deal on Wednesday on Twitter. Through the day, the Congress chief has repeatedly challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer four questions on the deal that involved the number of aircraft, pricing, claims about defence ministry objections and what the party called patronage.
Mr Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "doesn't have the guts" to respond to the questions and challenged him to a 20-minute one-on-one debate on the Rafale issue.
But in his tweet, something appeared amiss.
Tomorrow, the PM faces an Open Book #RafaleDeal Exam in Parliament.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 2, 2019
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?
People on Twitter noticed, and called him out on the anomaly. Among the first to hit out was Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
A student who fails in the classroom boasts and challenges from outside. https://t.co/YOEUIN4JGT- Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) January 2, 2019
However, a few hours later, Mr Gandhi posted the fourth question and why he had withheld it.
The Missing Q3!- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 2, 2019
I had held back Q3 because Madam Speaker had said, "no talking about the Goa tape"! But the missing Q3 has become as controversial as Rafale:) So on popular demand:
Q3. Modi Ji, please tell us why Parrikar Ji keeps a Rafale file in his bedroom & what's in it? https://t.co/6WdiN487HJ
Mr Gandhi had targeted Ms Sitharaman during the debate in Lok Sabha, accusing her of "hiding" behind the protesting AIADMK members.
It was Union finance minister Arun Jaitley who responded to Mr Gandhi in parliament, ripping apart his arguments in a sharp counterattack. Ms Sitharaman is expected to reply to the debate on Thursday.
The Congress contends that the government had finalised an overpriced deal to benefit Anil Ambani, whose firm Reliance Defence, despite lacking experience, was recommended as an offset partner for Dassault, the company manufacturing the Rafale aircraft. Both Dassault and the government have denied the Congress allegations.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal