The BJP demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi on Monday after the Congress president expressed regret in the Supreme Court over his remarks in connection with the top court’s Rafale judgment and said he was a “liar of the first order” in public opinion.
On April 15, the apex court had clarified that in its Rafale judgment, there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that “chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai” (watchman Narendra Modi is a thief), as has been attributed to it by Gandhi.
Addressing a press conference at the party office here, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said by filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court, Gandhi had accepted that he had lied as regards his allegations against Prime Minister Modi in connection with the Rafale fighter jets issue.
“We are learning from the media that an affidavit expressing regret for attributing remarks to the honourable Supreme Court has been filed by Rahul Gandhi. Possibly, this is a first-of-its-kind when the national president of a national party goes before the honourable Supreme Court and admits to having lied,” Rao said.
He alleged that Gandhi was deliberately lying to somehow create a controversy where none existed.
“We demand that Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the people of the country for repeatedly uttering lies on the Rafale issue. Today, the cadres of the Congress party hang their heads in shame that their leader, their national president has been lying blatantly on the Rafale issue,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.
Describing Gandhi’s affidavit as an admission of guilt, he said, “He stands as guilty in the court of public opinion as well. The honourable court will adjudicate on the affidavit filed by him but today, in public opinion, Rahul Gandhi is a liar of the first order who has only been speaking lies for political advancement.”
Rao also questioned Gandhi over his citizenship and educational qualification, and asked whether the Congress chief and Raul Vinci were the same person.
He was referring to a complaint filed by Independent candidate Dhruv Lal in Amethi, from where Gandhi is contesting his fourth Lok Sabha polls, on alleged discrepancies in the Congress chief’s election affidavit, including about the non-disclosure of a company registered in the UK in the name of “Raul Vinci”.
Later, at another press conference, Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman said Gandhi’s credibility had taken a beating.
“…his credibility has taken a beating. I feel sorry that the president of a national party like the Congress depends only on falsehood,” she said.
“To escape the wrath of the Supreme Court, Rahul Gandhi has taken a politically convenient argument, stating that he regrets. It is a matter of credibility,” Sitharaman added.
Gandhi, who filed an affidavit on Monday in response to the apex court’s April 15 order, said he had made the statement in the heat of political campaigning, which was misused by his political opponents. He said he had no intention to lower the dignity of the Supreme Court.
Gandhi, however, alleged that the prime minister too had used the apex court’s judgment in the Rafale case to claim that the government was given a “clean chit” in the matter.