Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today came out all guns blazing against Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against the Narendra Modi government on the Rafale deal and the NPA issue. COntending that the Congress chief was repeatedly speaking lies as the Congress was bereft of any real issue against the government, Jaitley said that the strategy of the Congress president is quite simple – “concoct a lie, and repeat it as many times.”
“To each of the Rafale questions raised by me, there has been no reply. In mature democracies those who rely on falsehood are considered unfit for public life. Many have been banished from political activity because they were caught lying. But this rule obviously can’t apply to a dynastic organisation like Congress Party,” the Finance minister wrote in a blog post on his Facebook page.
Hitting out at the Congress, the minister, who also called the Congress president ‘a clown prince’ said that if Rafale deal wasn’t enough, another lie was floated that the Modi government had waived off loans to the tune of Rs 2,50,000 crore of 15 industrialists. Every word of this is nothing but misinformation, Jaitley wrote. “If the ‘Rafale concoctions’ were the first big lie, the second one stated repeatedly is that Mr. Modi waived off rupees two lakh fifty thousand crores of fifteen industrialists. Every word of that sentence repeatedly uttered by Rahul Gandhi is false.”
The Finance Minister said that these loans were lent by the banks before 2014. “Firstly, these amounts were lent by the banks prior to 2014. Secondly, the UPA Government, in order to conceal these loans despite the default, kept rolling over the loans. These loans were ever-greened. Today the UPA leaders stated that when they went out of Government, the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) were only Rs.2.5 lakh crores. The truth is that actually NPA s were hidden under the carpet,” he added.
Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said that public discourse is a serious activity and cannot be limited to hug or wink. He hit out at Rahul Gandhi further saying, “You lied on the Rafale deal, you lied on the NPAs. Your temperament to concoct facts raises a legitimate question – do people whose natural preference is falsehood deserve to be a part of the public discourse. Public discourse is a serious activity. It is not a laughter challenge. It cannot be reduced to a hug, a wink or repetition of falsehood. The world’s largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a ‘Clown Prince’.”
Jaitley’s retort comes amid constant attacks by Rahul against the government over alleged corruption in the Rafale deal. Earlier in the day accusing Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying” on HAL’s ability to build Rafale aircraft, he asked for her resignation. The Congress chief took to Twitter, he wrote, “The RM (Rafale Minister) tasked with defending corruption has been caught lying again. The former HAL Chief, T S Raju, has nailed her lie, that HAL didn’t have the capability to build the RAFALE. Her position is untenable & she must resign.”