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There Will Be a Criminal Investigation in Rafale Deal if I’m Voted To Power: Rahul Gandhi

He said Sitharaman in her reply should state if Modi pushed the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited out of the deal to manufacture the planes

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Rahul Gandhi, Wikipedia

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said there will be a criminal investigation into the Rafale deal if Congress comes to power in the 2019 elections, stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being accused of wrongdoings in the deal but is running away from the questions posed to him.

Talking to reporters in the Parliament House complex, he said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should answer the specific questions posed by him to Modi when she replies to the debate on the Rafale deal.

He said Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed a discussion on the deal that “PM has personally signed.”

“You witnessed that the government refused to answer fundamental questions. Arun Jaitley did not answer the fundamental questions. The Prime Minister, who is being accused in the matter, chose to run away from the House, did not put his foot in the Lok Sabha,” he said.

Gandhi said Jaitley should answer his questions instead of abusing him.

“The fundamental question here is there should be a JPC (joint parliamentary committee) probe. Supreme Court has said that Rafale inquiry is not in its jurisdiction. If we come to power in 2019, there will be criminal investigation and people responsible will be punished,” he said.

Gandhi said the youth of the country are putting questions to the prime minister.
“Who decided to raise the price of the fighter jet from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1600 crore? Whose decision was this? Was this the decision of the Air Force, Defence Ministry or Prime Minister? We want clear cut answers,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Rahul says will go for criminal investigation in Rafale deal if voted to power.

Gandhi said an important question is if the Defence Ministry had objected to any element of the deal.

“Are there documents with the Defence Ministry that they opposed the deal? She should say there were no objections. If there are objections and file notings, then on what basis did the Prime Minister overrule these questions? I hope she will answer but I have my doubts she will not be able to,” he said.

The Congress chief said the Indian Air Force wanted 126 fighter planes but the government is purchasing only 36 planes. “Were national security considerations taken into consideration (while taking the decision)?”

He alleged that a private entity made Rs 30,000 crore in the offset deal.
He said the contract to manufacture planes should have come to HAL but the planes being procured by government are being manufactured in France.

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“The industry should have come to India. Who decided to keep HAL out? This is not Narendra Modi’s money. This your money,” he said.

The Congress leader claimed that former French President Francois Hollande has said that Modi “made it clear” that the deal to purchase fighter jets will go through if the offsets contract is given to the private entity.

He said Sitharaman in her reply should state if Modi pushed the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited out of the deal to manufacture the planes. (IANS)

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Will Congress Party be Able to Survive in Future in Face of Modi Onslaught?

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence

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From left, Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, her son and party President Rahul Gandhi, and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence. But following the party’s crushing electoral debacle for a second time, there are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Contrary to expectations, India’s mammoth general election turned out to be virtually a no-contest between Modi and Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi as it became a presidential-style battle.

“It is not what went wrong with the Congress, it is more of a story of what went right for Prime Minister Modi. He stood as a tall leader, as an achiever, as somebody who understood people’s aspirations,” says political commentator Rasheed Kidwai, who has authored a biography of Rahul Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi. On the other hand, “Rahul Gandhi is temperamentally not a power wielder. He is a trustee of power.”

The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves toward his supporters during an election campaign rally in New Delhi, May 8, 2019. VOA

Gandhi’s rallies drew crowds, but his efforts to project Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party as a threat to India’s secular traditions or to highlight issues of economic distress failed to resonate. His attempts to nail him for corruption in a deal to buy Rafale French fighter jets fell flat. His promise of a minimum wage for India’s poorest families was met with skepticism, even among the poor.

On the other hand, Modi, successfully wooed voters with his message of strident nationalism and subtle appeal to the majority Hindu community. Along with it, there was another theme: he projected himself as the humble son of a tea seller, a self made man who fought all odds to reach the top post in contrast to what he called the “entitled” Gandhi who had inherited the mantle of leadership of the Congress Party. It drew cheers from the country’s emerging middle and lower-middle classes, exhausted with dynastic politics.

The Congress Party’s tally of 52 seats in parliament was only a notch higher than the 44 seats it won in 2014 in the 545-member parliament. The party’s candidates returned empty-handed in half the Indian states and in several others the party only mustered a single digit tally.Modi’s BJP won 303 seats.

The scale of its losses not just crushed hopes the Congress Party would either lead a credible challenge to Modi or return as invigorated opposition – it once again raised questions over the leadership of the Gandhi family.

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The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014. VOA

Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign, but expectedly the party that has no second rung of leadership has turned it down. “The party will fulfill its role as a strong opposition. We need Rahul Gandhi to lead us in these challenging times,” Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said after a meeting of the party’s senior leaders on the weekend.

Rahul Gandhi also lost the Amethi constituency the party had held for 50 years in Uttar Pradesh state. In another humiliating blow for the Gandhi family, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was appointed in a senior post to revive the party, failed to make an impact. Rahul’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, won her party’s only seat in the state.

Rahul Gandhi’s victory in another constituency in South India means he will continue to be a lawmaker. Dynastic politics is not limited to the Congress Party: lawmakers from political families are a routine feature of Indian politics. But political commentators say in an era showing a preference for strong, populist leaders, Modi was the clear victor.

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here are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“There is a new sense of nationalism sweeping across many conventional democracies. There is a yearning for a strong leader that captures the public imagination,” according to political analyst Ajoy Bose. “I don’t really see the conventional Congress Party or the conventional leadership mounting a challenge to Modi. He has completely taken the country by storm.”

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Gandhi tried to give a positive message after the party’s rout. “We have a different vision of India [from Modi]”, said the head of the party that has long projected itself as a defender of India’s minorities, such as Muslims who worry about religious polarization and a rise in hate crimes since Modi came to power. “There is no need to be afraid. We will continue to work hard and we will eventually win.”

But it may be difficult to reinvent what analysts call a “fading party.” They say Modi’s BJP now occupies the dominant political space that the Congress party did for decades. “Congress is going to get reduced to, you know, like the Liberals did in Britain,” says Rasheed Kidwai. (VOA)