- Rahul Gandhi dares PM Modi for debate on national security, Rafale deal
- He is a coward person, Rahul Gandhi says
- PM Modi is scared, the Congress chief adds
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today issued yet another challenge for a face-to-face, US Presidential style debate to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on national security, Rafale jet deal and the state of the nation's economy. The allotted time, he said, would be five minutes, But the Prime Minster, Mr Gandhi added, is a "coward".
"I know PM Modi's character after fighting him for 5 years, he is a coward. When someone stands up to him, he runs away," Mr Gandhi said.
"I challenge the BJP, let Narendra Modi ji debate with me on stage. He is scared. He is a coward (darpok). I have recognised him," the Congress chief added to roaring applause from the party members he was addressing.
Mr Gandhi's challenge comes amid sharpened BJP attacks over the questioning of his brother-in-law, businessman Robert Vadra by investigators in a money laundering case. The Congress has so far ignored the barbs.
"Then I realised because they know in all their years in power there hasn't been a single honest defence deal. Some mama, some chacha kept coming in," he said.
The Congress, he added, was "insensitive" towards the armed forces, and did not wish to see it stand strong.
"The Army has seen the days when the officers did not even have bullet-proof jackets to conduct surgical strikes... I am not talking about weaponry here. These are basic facilities," PM Modi said.
The Congress chief has challenged PM Modi to participate in a debate with him in the past too. In November last year, Mr Gandhi had challenged PM Modi to debate with him over the details of the Rafale deal.
The Congress president has been scathing in his attacks against PM Modi on the Rafale fighter jet deal. He has coined the phrase "The watchman is a thief" - the watchman being a reference to the Prime Minister - and accused the ruling BJP of changing the UPA-era deal to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani.
Yesterday, Mr Gandhi said the Congress should be able to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections without giving in to hatred and asked party workers to never use the word murdabad in connection with political adversaries.
"We have promised a minimum income guarantee. It means that every poor person, in any corner of India, will get direct benefit transfer from the Congress," he said today.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.