Bengaluru, Jan 5 (PTI) Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H D Deve Gowda on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should speak on the Rafale deal in Parliament as charges had been levelled directly against him.

The former prime minister also hailed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her speech on the issue in the Lok Sabha on Friday, but said it was not sufficient.

In her point-by-point reply on the Rafale debate, Sitharaman put up a spirited defence of the deal and launched a counter-attack on the Congress.

“Why can’t the prime minister come to the House and speak? The defence minister argued well but that’s a different matter,” Gowda told reporters here.

“The charge is against the prime minister. Be it the prime minister or any other leader, when there is a charge, he should come before the House,” he said.

The JD(S) chief felt that Modi has given the people a reason to doubt him by not speaking on the issue.

“It is not a question of whether he (Modi) is right or someone else is. But the only problem is why the prime minister is not coming to respond to the question,” Gowda said.

He said the prime minister was giving interviews and was set to address 200 rallies, but what was more important was that he should have spoken in Parliament as well.

“My advice to the prime minister is that when such an allegation is made, he should be in the House and face it,” Gowda said.

The Congress has been targeting Modi on the multi-million dollar fighter jet deal.

It alleges alleging that price of each aircraft was sharply hiked from around Rs 526 crore, negotiated under the deal during the UPA, to Rs 1,600 crore and that the deal will help Anil Ambani get Rs 30,000 crore benefit through offset contract.

Raising the issue of delay in the appointment of the Lokpal, Gowda said he had cleared the proposal for the ombudsman in his 10-month tenure as prime minister.

In his version of the ombudsman law, the prime minister was brought under its ambit, he said.

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to place an affidavit on steps taken till date for Lokpal’s appointment and expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress made in this regard.

Speaking about his party’s campaigning programme ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Gowda said there was a need to inform the masses about the pro-people work done by Karnataka’s Congress-JD(S) government led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.