Prove HAL orders or quit, Rahul Gandhi dares Nirmala

Prove HAL orders or quit, Rahul Gandhi dares Nirmala

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI file photo

After a face-off in Parliament, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday dared Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to submit evidence to back her claims of Rs 1 lakh crore-worth orders to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), or quit.

Rahul's attack came on a day a section of the media reported that HAL had not received orders for a single rupee of the Rs 1 lakh crore mentioned by Sitharaman during her response to the debate on the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The issue is set for Parliament on Monday as the Winter Session enters its final lap.

“When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one. In her eagerness to defend the PM's Rafale lie, the RM (Raksha Mantri) lied to Parliament. Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of govt orders to HAL. Or resign,” Rahul said on Twitter.

The Congress has launched a coordinated social media campaign where party leaders were asking the defence minister to respond to Rahul's two specific questions on the Rafale deal.

“Who gave Anil Ambani the offset contract? Did the Defence Ministry object to the new deal,” Congress leaders across the country said on Twitter, claiming that Sitharaman had not answered the two questions posed to her by Rahul in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma accused Sitharaman of acting as a spokesperson of the Ambani-Dassault joint venture by running down the HAL to justify the denial of the transfer of technology and the contract to build 108 Rafale aircraft in India.

“The Raksha Mantri, who put up a theatrical performance in the Lok Sabha, is presenting a pathetic picture by reducing her office to an apologist one for Narendra Modi, who is personally complicit in the Rafale scam,” said Sharma, the Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha.

“She is trying to win kudos from a PM who is already in the departure lounge,” he said challenging the prime minister to respond to the allegations levelled by the Congress.