New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi yet again attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday saying that the PM had betrayed India’s soul by making a negotiation that borders on corruption. Gandhi said that it is a shame that for the first time in Indian history an ex-French President is calling our PM a thief. He said that he is asking PM Modi to clarify his stand as it is the question of the dignity of the PM’s office, it is the question of the future of our soldiers, airforce, defence and also about corruption.
Reiterating the ex-French president’s statement, Gandhi said that PM Modi must come out clean and answer the truth about the Rafale deal as the comment that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence was proposed as Ambani’s Reliance Defence has got people convinced that the PM is a ‘thief’. In Gandhi’s words, it has become embedded in the minds of people that ‘desh ka chowkidaar chor hai’.
He even took a dig at former defence minister Manohar Parrikar saying that the latter said that when the contract was changed, he didn’t know about it and was buying fish in the markets of Goa.
Gandhi’s statement comes a day after former French president Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government had suggested Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner in the Rafale deal. He had also said that the French government and Dassault Aviation had no involvement in the choice of Indian industrial partners in the multi-million dollar jet contract.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi had tweeted saying that the PM had dishonoured the blood of the martyred soldiers. “The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a One Hundred & Thirty Thousand Crore, Surgical Strike on the Indian Defence forces. Modi Ji you dishonoured the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India’s soul,” Gandhi tweeted.
Spokesperson of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said in a statement said, “The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies. In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard.”
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh refuted Gandhi’s allegation and called them baseless. Singh said that there is no point in raising controversies about Rafale deal. He added that Defence Ministry has released a statement on the statement of Former French President (François Hollande), that they are verifying it.
With the ongoing chaos over the Rafale deal, several politicians too stepped up and said that truth regarding the multi-million dollar deal should come out. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi also chimed in and said that people of India would like to know who is lying. Owaisi added, “Is the former French President Hollande lying or our PM is not saying the truth? We want the Defence Minister to throw light on this.”