Political heat over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's New Year interview is refusing to die down, with both the Congress and the BJP slugging it out in the parliament as well as outside. After Rahul Gandhi's scathing attack on PM Modi on the issue of Rafale deal in Parliament on Wednesday, he held a press conference in which he said the Modi interview with news agency ANI was "staged". He also added the interview was conducted by a "pliable journalist".
Sharpening the attack, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday called Rahul Gandhi the grandson of the "Emergency dictator" for intimidating an independent editor of a news organisation.
"The Grandson of the 'Emergency dictator' displays his real DNA - attacks and intimidates an independent Editor," Jaitley said in a tweet on Thursday.
He also criticised the "liberal people" for remaining silent when a national political party chief was attacking a journalist for doing her job. Jaitley also sought a response from the Editors' Guild on the issue. "Why are the pseudo liberals silent? Waiting for the Editors guild's response," said Jaitley.
The Grandson of the 'Emergency dictator' displays his real DNA - attacks and intimidates an independent Editor.- Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) January 3, 2019
During a press conference on Wednesday, Rahul had said: "He (Modi) does not have the guts to come and sit in front of you. And I am coming here... you can ask me any question...I come here once in seven-ten days... and you saw the Prime Minister's interview yesterday...matlab (I mean) pliable journalist, woh question bhi de rahi thi, side mei (she was asking questions as well as giving answers)." He had asked in Parliament that "why the Prime Minister can speak for one-and-a-half hour in a staged interview and not answer the fundamental questions on Rafale."
The Congress party chief also spoke about the audio tape, which allegedly has the voice of Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane. The tape recounts an alleged statement by Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar during a Cabinet meeting. Parrikar allegedly said that he had documents related to the Rafale deal 'in his bedroom'.
"Goa CM Manohar Parrikar is blackmailing the Prime Minister with the confidential documents he allegedly holds on the Rafale deal," Gandhi said.
Meanwhile, Jaitley has also been attacking Rahul for raising the issue to gain political benefit. "How much does he know? When will he know?" Jaitley asked on Wednesday, explaining that "even in the offer made to the UPA government, there were two different prices one of the flyaway aircraft and the offer of the weaponised aircraft."
Edited by Manoj Sharma