New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli are “spectacular” players in their spheres and it is not easy to defeat them. His prediction came at a time when India will elect a new government next year and the national cricket team will go to England and Wales to play Cricket World Cup, kicking off near the same time next year. Also Read - Naveen Patnaik Writes To PM Modi Urges Centre To Issue Timeframe for CBSE Exam 2021

Speaking at an event, Jaitley said, “In both spheres, there are spectacular players — Virat Kohli and Narendra Modi. And it is not easy to defeat them.” Also Read - Mamata Banerjee Dares BJP To Arrest Her, Says Will Ensure TMC Victory in Polls From Jail Itself

He further said that the Mahagathbandhan or grand-alliance of opposition parties was a failed idea as no country will jump in to commit suicide by electing a combination which does not have stability or ideology or has the certainty of the leader. Also Read - BJP MLA Vijay Kumar Sinha Elected Speaker of Bihar Assembly by Majority Vote

He accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of lying on Rafale fighter jet deal and fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in the country for defaulting on bank loans.

 “I will only say that he (Rahul Gandhi) lied on both the issues (Rafale and Mallya). A lie is short lived and if you want to do serious politics (and) have credibility, it is important that you understand the seriousness of issues. This is a must for him to have a long run in politics,” he said.

He accused the previous Congress-led UPA government of not doing enough to provide the fighter aircraft that Indian Air Force needed and said the deal negotiated by the present BJP-led NDA government is cheaper than the previous one.

When asked about Congress’ demand for a Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) on Rafale deal, he said the pricing details were given to the Supreme Court which said that the process has been followed.

 “The Supreme Court said offset was decided by Dassault (the French firm manufacturing Rafale fighter jets). “Parliamentary committees have a history of being split into partisan lines. We have a majority there. But to conduct a farce which will only delay something which is inherently required in national security and after the Supreme Court judgement, there is no occasion for the matter to be called into or investigated,” he said.

On December 14, the Supreme Court had dismissed all the petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale deal. The apex court had said that the pricing details of the aircraft were provided to the CAG and the CAG report had been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Observing that India can’t afford to be unprepared in the skies, the court had said that the need for the aircraft and the quality of the aircraft was not in doubt, and “We can’t sit on the wisdom.” Saying that it can’t go into each aspect of the process of acquisition of the aircraft, the court said that the earlier deal was taking longer and was not concluding.

On the choice of an offset Indian partner, the court had said that the role of Indian government cannot be envisaged as it was entirely for the vendor Dassault to make a choice.  The apex court said that there was no evidence of commercial favouratism by the government.

The Centre had earlier defended the deal while admitting that there was “no sovereign guarantee from France, but there is a letter of comfort.” The petitions seeking the probe were filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, advocate M.L. Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker in Parliament Sanjay Singh.

(With PTI inputs)