During his address at the India Today Conclave 2019 on March 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Today there is talk that India is missing the Rafale jets. The entire nation is saying that if India had Rafale jets today, the outcome of the recent incidents would have been something different." He attacked the Opposition for "politicising" the Rafale deal and said India continue to suffer due to this.
This was the first time Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was returned to India on March 1. He claimed that "the Indian Armed Forces were busy quelling terror, but the Congress and its allies are not convinced with their act of bravery and seek proof of their bravery". "In your stubborn desire to oppose Modi, see that you don't end up strengthening terrorists like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed," he stated, referring to the Opposition.
Have you no shame at all?
YOU stole 30,000 Cr and gave it to your friend Anil.
YOU are solely responsible for the delay in the arrival of the RAFALE jets.
YOU are WHY brave IAF pilots like Wing Cdr. Abhinandan, are risking their lives flying outdated jets. https://t.co/BrzAuFTlFu- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 2, 2019
After Saturday's remark, Rahul Gandhi tweeted with a comeback, "Dear PM, Have you no shame at all? YOU stole 30,000 Crore and gave it to your friend Anil. YOU are solely responsible for the delay in the arrival of the RAFALE jets". He added, "YOU are WHY brave IAF pilots like Wing Cdr. Abhinandan, are risking their lives flying outdated jets".
The Rafale deal has been embroiled in controversy after Congress alleged that India overpaying for them to benefit Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence. Modi in 2015, had signed a deal with France to buy 36 Rafale jets under completely different terms, rather than the 126 that the tender had originally envisioned.
Meanwhile addressing a press conference on Sunday, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also retaliated by saying that the Congress had never asked for evidence on the airstrikes and has full confidence and trust in the Indian armed forces. He added that it was not the Opposition which who was putting question marks on the airstrike but the Prime Minister himself.
Tewari added the fact that India does not have Rafale jets today is because of Prime Minister Modi. If PM Modi had not canceled the contract and its initial negotiations to accommodate his own cronies, the Rafale jets would have come by now, he said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also alleged PM by calling him "narcissistic" and added, "Latest instances of Modiji's cronyism are the Rafale deal and handing over of 5 out of 6 airports to his crony friends".
"With nearly 50 days to go, India awaits for Modi government's departure," Surjewala added.
(Edited by Rupa Burman Roy)