Lok Sabha witnessed another fiery debate today as Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clashed over the controversial Rafale deal. Gandhi said that Sitharaman did not address any of the Congress’s specific allegations.
Spoke for 2.5 hours, didn’t talkCountering Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s counter in the ongoing Rafale debate in Parliament, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that the minister failed to address the core allegations and doubts raised by his party over the deal even though she spoke for a good two-and-a-half hours. “You [Nirmala Sitharaman] spoke for two-and-a-half hours but did not talk about how Anil Ambani got the offset contract,” Rahul Gandhi shortly after the defence minister delivered a long riposte to the allegations raised by Gandhi on Thursday, which was the Day 1 of the Rafale parliamentary debate. Sitharaman reiterated points the Narendra Modi government has previously made to say that the government-to-government deal to buy 36 Rafale aircraft from French aviation company Dassault was made because the Indian Air Force urgently needed these fighter jets. Sitharaman also rejected the Congress’s argument that the government was keeping the price of the Rafale jet a secret to hide alleged irregularities. Sitharaman said that the base price of the Rafale jet being purchased by the Modi government was already in the public domain — Rs 670. However, she said, the price of the attached “avionics and weapons cannot be disclosed”. Sitharaman also alleged that the Congress party, which led the previous United Progressive Alliance government, did not go ahead with its own Rafale deal as that deal wasn’t “getting you money”. (The UPA-era deal was to buy 126 Rafale jets, 108 of which were to be manufactured in India; the deal was scrapped by the Modi government when it came to power.) about Anil Ambani: Rahul counters Sitharaman’s Rafale counter