Accusing the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi of running a “false campaign based on untruth” over the Rafale deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Rahul has already mentioned seven different prices of the aircraft in different speeches regarding the 2007 deal.
Hours after Jaitley’s blog was posted on social media, BJP president Amit Shah cited a tweet by Rahul, seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee on “Rafale Robbery”, and said, “Why wait 24 hours when you already have your JPC- Jhoothi Party Congress. Your lies to fool the nation are self evident when Rafale price you quote vary in Delhi, Karnataka, Raipur, Hyderabad, Jaipur & Parliament. But the nation’s IQ is higher than yours.”
In a blog post titled, ‘15 Questions that Expose Congress Party’s Falsehood on Rafale’, Jaitley said, “A false campaign based on untruth has been launched by the Congress Party casting a cloud on the Inter-Governmental agreement.” He questioned the Congress for delaying the deal for more than a decade.
“For reasons best known to the UPA Government, on 27th June, 2012, the deal was directed to be re-examined, which effectively meant that the entire eleven-year exercise was abandoned and the process was to be undertaken afresh. India’s squadron strength was depleting because of age. This slow and casual approach of the UPA government seriously compromised national security requirements,” the Finance Minister pointed out.
He said the Congress chief quoted different prices of the aircraft on different occasions. “How is it that Rahul Gandhi quoted a price of Rs 700 crores per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May this year? In Parliament, he reduced it to Rs 520 crore per aircraft, in Raipur he increased it to Rs 540 crores; in Jaipur he used the two figures — Rs 520 crores and Rs 540 crores in the same speech. In Hyderabad, he invented a new price of Rs 526 crores. Truth has only one version, falsehood has many.”
Jaitley’s counter has come at a time when the Congress has mounted its attack on the BJP-led government over the Rafael deal. The Congress alleges that the NDA government paid higher price than what the UPA would have paid if the deal would have completed on the basis of the 2007 offer of Dassault. “It is expected from national political parties and its responsible leaders to keep themselves informed of the basic facts before they enter a public discourse on defence transactions,” Jaitley wrote. He said any Original Equipment Manufacturer under the offset policy of the UPA can select any number of Indian partners, both from private sector and public sector, for offset supplies.
“This has nothing to do with the Government of India and, therefore, any private industry having benefitted from the Government of India is a complete lie. Can Shri Gandhi and his Party deny this?”