Rahul Gandhi said India has had “four revolving” defence ministers since 2014 and alleged that it gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi “space to personally re-negotiate” the Rafale deal with France.
Mr Gandhi’s comments come amid a war of words between the BJP and the Congress on the Rafale jet deal, with the opposition party accusing Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying” in Parliament over the issue, while the saffron party rejecting the charges as “falsehood”.
“Since 2014, India has had 4 revolving Raksha Mantris. Now we know why. It gave the PM space to personally re-negotiate RAFALE with the French,” Mr Gandhi said on Twitter.
“India has had 4 ‘RAFALE Mantris’. But, none of them know what really transpired in France. Except the PM. But he won’t speak!” the Congress chief said and tagged an Amul advertisement that had a humorous take on the Rafale issue with a ‘Pass or Rafail’ tagline.
Four BJP MPs have submitted a privilege notice against Gandhi, accusing him of “misleading” Parliament by making “false” allegations against the prime minister and Ms Sitharaman.
The Congress also gave notices for moving privilege motion against PM Modi and Ms Sitharaman for misleading the House over the Rafale issue while making statements during the no-confidence motion last week.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley was twice defence minister, once after the government was formed in 2014 and then after Manohar Parrikar became the chief minister of Goa. Ms Sitharaman became defence minister after Mr Jaitley’s second stint.>