Rahul Gandhi Takes A Dig At Sitharaman On Rafale Deal
Sitharaman dismissed all allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal and in a reply lasting over two-and-half hours in the Lok Sabha on Friday to a debate on the deal with French manufacturer Dassault
After a day of heated debate on the controversial Rafale deal Parliament, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday again picked up the gauntlet and said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke for two hours and still did not answer the two questions posed by him on the Rafale deal.
Gandhi’s remarks came as he shared an “edited” video on his Twitter account of the Parliament debate on the Rafale deal. In the video, he is seen posing two questions: Who took away the contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL); and whether Indian Air Force (IAF) officers objected to the changes in the deal.
Sitharaman and other Bharatiya Janata Party ministers are shown to be sitting silently in response to the questions.
“Watch and share this video. Let every Indian ask the Prime Minister and his ministers these questions,” the Congress President said.
Gandhi, on Friday, had said that Sitharaman evaded his questions on the controversial Rafale deal and “ran away” when asked a pointed question if the IAF objected to the changes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made in “two minutes” to the deal, negotiated over eight years.
“Instead of answering the question, she started doing drama — ‘Oh I was insulted. I was called a liar’. My simple question was that after such a long negotiation by the Air Force chief, Defence Minister, secretaries and Air Force officers, did those who did the whole negotiation object when Modi did the bypass surgery to the negotiated deal,” Rahul Gandhi had said.
Sitharaman dismissed all allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal and in a reply lasting over two-and-half hours in the Lok Sabha on Friday to a debate on the deal with French manufacturer Dassault, said: “Bofors was a scam, but Rafale was a decision taken in national interest. Rafale will bring back Modi to build a new India and remove corruption.” (IANS)
In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.
Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.
The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.
BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.
The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.
Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.
“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.
The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)