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Rahul Gandhi challenges PM for debate on Rafale deal

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Rafale deal scam

Hyderabad, Aug 13 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a debate on the Rafale jet deal with France, reiterating his graft charge against the government.

He said that he was ready for a debate with Modi at any place and time to prove that the government will get each Rafael jet for Rs 1,600 crore against the Rs 540 crore when the contract was signed during the earlier UPA rule.

Addressing a meeting of party workers, he said that Modi could not look him in the eye when he spoke in Parliament on the aircraft deal.

“I spoke before the ‘chowkidar’ with a 56-inch chest. He was looking everywhere but towards me. A corrupt person when told about his theft can’t see you in the eye,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress President said that during his 1.5-hour reply to the debate, Modi did not speak a single word about the Rafale deal.

He reiterated his charge that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied to the nation that the aircraft price can’t be revealed as per a pact between India and France.

The Congress leader had claimed that the French President had told him that there is no such pact and that the Indian government can reveal the price to anyone it wants.

Rahul Gandhi recalled that the UPA government led by his party had given the contract for 126 aircraft to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited because it had been making aircraft for 70 years. He said that when Modi visited France, the contract was snatched from HAL and given to “his (Modi) friend”.

“Modi’s friend did not make aircraft in his life. That businessman is in Rs 45,000-crore debt,” Rahul Gandhi alleged.

He said that the contract was given to a company formed only 10 days before the contract.

Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government of snatching jobs from the Indian youth as manufacture of the aircraft by HAL would have provided employment to lakhs of Indians.

The Congress leader said that the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks shot up to Rs 12 lakh crore during NDA rule from Rs 2.5 lakh crore under the UPA rule. He claimed that the entire Indian banking system has jammed.

The Congress President targeted Modi for failing to fulfil the commitments made to both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh at the time of the bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

He said that if voted to power, the Congress would fulfil all commitments, including special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Aiming at Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Rahul wanted to know why he supported Modi on demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax and other issues when the Prime Minister failed to fulfil commitments given to Telangana.

Rahul Gandhi said that Telangana has become the “capital of corruption” as only one family is reaping all the benefits.

He said that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief was no less than Modi in making false promises.

He said that if Modi promised Rs 15 lakh in every bank account and two crore jobs every year, Rao promised a job for every family and double bedroom houses to all the poor in the state.

Gandhi said that during the last four years, the TRS government had filled only 10,000 of the one lakh vacancies in government departments and built only 5,000 of the promised 22 lakh houses.

Politics

Congress alleges open horse-trading by BJP in Karnataka

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Bengaluru, Sep 22: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Saturday alleged horse-trading by the Bharatiya Janata Party and said BJP national chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are directly responsible for creating instability in the state.

“Open horse-trading is going on. The central government is itself hand-in-glove. Amit Shah and PM Modi are directly responsible for creating instability in Karnataka. They don’t want this government to function”, he told news agency ANI.

The Congress leader further said, ” they are telling the MLAs, we have the central government with us, you come with us and we’ll do everything necessary”.

Rao revealed that former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa himself called the parliamentarians and said ‘don’t worry, the centre is ours’.

In this regard, the Congress party have complained to the Income Tax department that BJP people are trying to offer inducements to its MLA’s.

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India

Narendra Modi should resign as PM : Kharge

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Launching a blistering attack on Modi, senior Congress leader, Mallikarjun Kharge said that   Narendra Modi is not suitable for the Prime Minister’s post and therefore he should immediately resign and  appoint any cabinet minister as Prime Minister.

Launching a blistering attack on Modi, Mallikarjun Kharge, said “It’s my personal demand that he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is not suitable for the post and therefore he should immediately resign & appoint any cabinet minister as Prime Minister. He is morally not suitable for the post now.”

The claim by the former French president has given fresh ammunition to the Congress party, which has been mounting an attack on the government, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Modi.

The controversy over the ongoing Rafale deal took a new direction when former French president Francois Hollande said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In an interview to a French media house, Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.

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Is Former French President lying or our PM, asks Owaisi on Rafale

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New Delhi, Sep 22: All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi today asked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to throw a light on who is lying over Rafale fighter jet deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Former French President Francois Hollande. 

“People of India would like to know who is lying. Is the former French President Hollande lying or our PM is not saying the truth?, asked  Owaisi.

He further said, “We want the Defence Minister to throw light on this”.

In an article published by French journal Mediapart, Hollande said that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence ‘Dassault’ as a service provider for the Rafale deal.

With his remarks, the controversy over the ongoing Rafale deal took a new direction.

The deal to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and signed in 2016.

Earlier, the UPA government was negotiating a deal to purchase 126 Rafale jets, with 18 to come in flyaway condition and 108 to be manufactured by HAL under licence.

The Modi government has repeatedly said it was Dassault that chose its India partner for offsets and that the government had no say in the deal.

While, the Congress has been alleging irregularities in the deal, saying the UPA had finalised the price of each aircraft at Rs. 590 crore in 2012, and the price increased by 1690 crores in 2015 under the BJP-led government

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