Rajat Sharma

Why Rahul Gandhi is unwilling to listen to logical replies on Rafale deal

A_K_B (1) (003)Towards the end of her two-and-a-half-hour marathon reply on the Rafale debate in Lok Sabha on Friday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman turned visibly emotional and lashed out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for calling her “jhoothi” (liar) and Prime Minister Modi “chor” (thief). Sitharaman said, ‘I don’t have a khaandan (dynasty) to boast of. I come from an ordinary background. I come with my honour intact. Our Prime Minister comes from an economically backward family. You have no right to call me a liar and our PM as thief.”
There were reasons for the Defence Minister to become emotional. I listed to her marathon reply in Lok Sabha. She had come with all facts and figures. In spite of continuous interruptions, she replied to most of the points raised by the Opposition.

On his part, Rahul Gandhi also asked direct and logical questions about the deal. It appeared as if the debate was going to be fruitful, but towards the end, the Congress president winked twice at somebody inside the House, and spoiled the seriousness of the debate on an issue that relates to national security. It looked as if he was out to have fun and had little interest in the reply being given by the Defence Minister.

Joking apart, I have said several times in the recent past that the Congress wants to make Rafale an electoral issue, and no matter how many times the government gives clarifications, it is trying hard to let the mud of corruption charge against Modi stick.

Rahul is continuously harping on his allegation that PM Modi has given benefit to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had clarified in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that the entire Rafale deal was to the tune of Rs 58,000 crore, out of which 50 per cent, or Rs 29,000 crore comes under offset obligations clause. There are nearly 100 companies under offset obligations, out of which Anil Ambani’s company has got only Rs 870 crore worth business. From where did the figure of Rs 30,000 crore come?

But logic has no place in a setting where Rahul Gandhi has a set pattern of dialogues, which he used during the MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh elections, and which he is going to repeat during his campaign for the parliamentary elections.

As an opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi has the right to decide on issues that he intends to raise, he has the right not to accept the replies given by the government, but he should trust the Supreme Court’s verdict, which went through the entire procurement process, pricing and offset obligations in Rafale deal, and found no irregularities. All of us should respect the Supreme Court’s verdict.

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