Launching a scathing attack on the Congress party over the Rafale Deal, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley said that the statements given by Rahul Gandhi on the deal are factually false and that it showed how little understanding they had.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Jaitley said: “Every fact that they (Congress) have said on pricing is factually false. Mr Rahul Gandhi himself has given 7 different prices in different speeches with regard to the 2007 Rafale offer?This (allegations on Rafale deal) is like a kindergarten or primary school debate, ‘Well, I was paying 500 something and you’ve paid 1600 something’. That’s the argument being given, it shows how little understanding (Rahul Gandhi) he has.”
Jaitley claimed the cost per aircraft is nine per cent cheaper in the deal negotiated by the NDA government. “What was negotiated from 2015 to 2016 and finally executed in 2016, with the escalations and the currency variations, the basic aircraft price turns out to be 9% cheaper. Is the Congress party aware of this?” he said.
When asked about former BJP ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha’s claim that the government will pay Rs 1,000 crore more per plane as compared to an earlier deal, Jaitley called them “career nationalists” who lack “credibility”. “Our tragedy in the NDA has been, particularly in BJP, we’ve had a fair share of career nationalists. They are nationalists with us as long as it suits their career. I don’t attach much credibility to them,” he said.
He also attacked Congress party for allegedly delaying the deal with France. “Rahul Gandhi has mentioned seven different pricing rates in his different speeches. Congress is treating this like a primary school level debate,” said Jaitley.
On allegations of crony capitalism, he said the deal was between the governments of the two countries and there was no private party involved. “Congress must remember that it can’t fool people all the time. This is a government to government arrangement. Offset has nothing to do with this contract. Government will purchase 36 fully-loaded aircrafts from France, no private party involved. Government role ends,” he said.
On August 28, the FM also took to the social media to ask stringent questions to the Congress party over the coveted deal.
In a post on Facebook, Mr. Jaitley wrote that Congress’ campaign on Rafale deal was based on ‘peddled untruth’ which has been casting a cloud on the Inter-Governmental agreement & seriously compromising national security’.
He also alleged Congress of compromising the interests of public sector undertakings by favouring a private Indian industrialist for the deal.
Mr Jaitley also said that Rahul Gandhi and his party are guilty on three counts:
(a) UPA government delayed the Rafale deal by over a decade comprising national security.
(b) Every fact that Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party has spoken on pricing and procedure are completely false.
(c) Its effort of raising these issues is to further delay defence procurement so that India’s defence preparedness further suffers.
The Finance Minister posed questions to the Congress on delay, unsurety of facts, role of private industries and the procedure of the Rafale deal.