The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of being “a serial liar”. The party was reacting to Gandhi’s statement on Thursday on the Rafale defence deal between India and France.
“We have off late been experiencing the activities of a serial liar. Only an issue-less man can repeat a lie again and again,” said Railways Minister Piyush Goyal at a press conference in Delhi.
Gandhi had on Thursday claimed that the alleged documents of French firm Dassault Aviation on the Rafale deal showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is corrupt.
Goyal said it was time for the Congress chief to stop lying. “Repeating a lie a thousand times won’t turn it into the truth,” said Goyal. “I don’t think flogging a dead horse will get them anything.”
Goyal said that the government kept in mind national security before expediting the purchase of crucial defence equipment. He also claimed that the National Democratic Alliance government had been able to negotiate terms that were “far better” than what was agreed to by the former United Progressive Alliance government in 2007.
“We have gotten faster delivery, longer maintenance tenure, better availability of spare parts and much needed defence capabilities,” said Goyal.
He also accused Gandhi of being unable to understand the basic facts about the deal and claimed the Congress was trying to mask its own wrongdoings. “The Congress lied in Parliament too where Rahul Gandhi said he personally met French President and asked him about the secrecy of the Rafale deal,” said Goyal. “It only shows the hollowness of knowledge that he does not know that secrecy pact was done in 2008 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”
In response to Goyal’s remarks, the Congress said the government should give factual answers to questions and then the country would decide who is lying, PTI reported. “The country needs factual answers, we don’t need your adjectives for Rahul Gandhi,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said.
On Wednesday, a document accessed by French investigative website Mediapart showed that Dassault Aviation entered into an agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as it was presented as a “trade off” to obtain the contract of Rafale sales. The document shows that Dassault considered this alliance as a “counterpart”, “imperative and mandatory” to get into the Indian market.
However, Dassault Aviation debunked the report and stated that it freely chosen to partner with Reliance Group.
On a visit to Paris, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday reiterated that the government was not involved in selecting Reliance Defence as Dassault Aviation’s partner.