Rafale deal: In Karnataka’s Bidar, Rahul Gandhi challenges PM Narendra Modi to debatehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/in-karnataka-rahul-gandhi-challenges-pm-to-debate-on-rafale-deal-5305353/

Rafale deal: In Karnataka’s Bidar, Rahul Gandhi challenges PM Narendra Modi to debate

Rahul, on his first visit to Karnataka after his elevation as Congress chief, targeted Modi on several issues, including recent incidents of rape of girls in BJP-ruled states, farm loan waiver and GST.

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Bidar: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses during a public rally, in Bidar on Monday, Aug 13, 2018. (Source: PTI Photo)

Stepping up his criticism of the Prime Minister over alleged corruption in the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday dared him to a debate and claimed Narendra Modi would not be able to answer his questions on the issue “even for a second”. Rahul, on his first visit to Karnataka after his elevation as Congress chief, targeted Modi on several issues, including recent incidents of rape of girls in BJP-ruled states, farm loan waiver and GST.

“Let there be a debate for however long you want… Narendra Modi will not be able to answer my questions even for as second, because Narendra Modi has stolen from India. Narendra Modi favoured his friend Anil Ambani, whose company never had any experience of making an aircraft, in bagging the contract,” he said at a rally.

Rahul said the previous UPA government had signed the contract so that public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited could make the aircraft through technology transfer and create employment for the youth of Karnataka. “One day Narendra Modi goes to France and changes terms of the contract. My dear young people, Modiji has taken away your jobs from you. If he has the guts, a 56-inch chest, bring your (the BJP’s) prime minister in front of me, in front of the country.”

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India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. Rahul has been alleging that the cost of Rafale jets was inflated under the new terms of the contract.

In an interactive meeting with self-help groups at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad , Rahul took a jibe at Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, saying that a one -family government was in power in the state. “In Telangana, a one-family government is in power and that family gets all the benefits. Farmers’ lands are being taken away in the name of development,” he said.

Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao responded, “Rahul Gandhi needs to grow up and mature. Due to his immature talk and behaviour, he is becoming an asset to rival parties. Instead of reading speeches prepared by someone he should verify his facts and speak.”

With PTI inputs