Having identified corruption, bank fraud and unemployment as the key issues to target the BJP government with in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress on Saturday said it would launch a mass movement on these issues soon. It said the BJP government was “peddling lies” and indulging in “operation cover-up” on the Rafale fighter jet deal and was complicit in the escape of Mehul Choksi.
The BJP hit back, hours after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolved to take on the government on the issue of corruption. The BJP called the CWC “corruption wali committee” and party spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress was peddling lies and misleading people. “The Congress has hard connection with corruption. Wherever corruption happens in India, it goes to 10 Janpath. 10 Janpath is the permanent address of corruption in India and every act of corruption leads to the Gandhi family,” he said.
After the CWC meeting, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said that PM Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had refused to answer questions on the purchase price of Rafale aircraft and continued to hide behind a non-existent secrecy clause. “The truth is that while the Congress-led UPA government had decided to purchase Rafale aircraft for Rs 526 crore per aircraft, the Modi government proceeded to buy the same aircraft for Rs 1,670 crore, which is a jump of over 300 per cent. This is a clear-cut case of an extra Rs 41,205 crore being paid from the state exchequer for which there is no justification,” he said.
He said that in the biggest instance of crony capitalism, the Offset Contract worth Rs 30,000 crore was given to Reliance Defence Limited, which had zero experience in manufacturing fighter aircraft. He also alleged that the BJP government facilitated Mehul Choksi’s escape from India.