A day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit out at the PM Modi-led BJP government over the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lambasted the Congress chief saying that one should make choice of words that shows some semblance to intelligence.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Jaitley said; "Public discourse is not a laughter challenge, you go and hug someone, wink at someone, then keep giving wrong statements. In a democracy you have right to criticise but the choice of words should be such that it shows some semblance of intelligence".
He also alleged that there could be a linkage between Congress President Rahul Gandhi's charges on the NDA government and Hollande's statement on Rafale deal.
Referring to the September 21 statement made by former French President Hollande on Rafale in which he said the French side was asked by the Indian government to go with Reliance as an Offset partner, and a tweet by Rahul Gandhi on August 30 warning of impending news "in the next couple of weeks", Jaitley said that the two statements may have been `orchestrated' as they are in perfect rhythm with each other.
"I think he (Rahul Gandhi) is in some kind of a revenge mode. I won't be surprised if the whole thing is being orchestrated. On August 30, why did he (Rahul) tweet "Just wait for a while, some bombs are going to be burst in Paris"? And then what happens is in perfect rhythm with what he predicted," Jaitley said.
When pressed further to clearly state if he is alleging that the Opposition of both France and India were in cahoots with each other, Jaitley said; "I don't know. But I see a perfect coincidence in the rhythm between his tweet on August 30 and what happens when a statement is made which is found to be inaccurate and, therefore, the next day itself, Mr Hollande goes and starts backtracking it."
Rahul Gandhi had on August 30 tweeted: "Globalised corruption. This #Rafaleaircraft really does fly far and fast! It's also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks. Modi Ji please tell Anil, there is a big problem in France."
Days later, Francois Hollande told French Journal Mediapart in an interview that the French side had no role in deciding the Offset partner for Dassault and the name of Reliance was given by the Indian side. Hollande made this statement while defending himself and his partner Julie Gayet over alleged funding by Reliance of the latter's film. Jaitley said; " I don't have evidence to back this but this apparent duet between Rahul Gandhi and Francois Hollande), does raise a question.
"Congress can believe anything, but you must remember a basic principle of conduct, which for centuries has ruled throughout the world- which is ‘men may state inaccurate facts, circumstances never lie", Jaitley took a jibe at the Congress scion.
Referring to Rahul Gandhi's 'surgical strike' remark, Jaitley said; "It’s highly objectionable statement. Surgical strike is something India should be proud of. Your patriotism is questionable if you are ashamed of it and refer to it in a derogatory manner".
Rejecting allegations of a scam in the Rafale fighter plane deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Sunday said that whether the planes are bought at a higher rate or not is a matter for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to examine. He asserted, irrespective of the allegations, the Rafale deal will not be cancelled.
"The Rafale deal is clean and there is no question of cancelling it," Jaitley said. He asserted that the present Rafale aircrafts are cheaper than what Congress-led UPA government had negotiated and added that all these facts and figures will be placed before the CAG.
‘Clown Prince’ Rahul Gandhi spreading falsehood on Rafale deal, loan waiver to industrialists: Jaitley
"Fortunately, there is pricing, and for security interest, that pricing can't be disclosed in detail. But I have come as close to this. If you take a weaponised aircraft as of 2007, add the same two things to it again and bring it to 2016 level, the 2016 level is 20% cheaper. Now the CAG will go into pricing. They may not eventually disclose it, but about being 9% and 20% cheaper or not, they are looking into it. Congress has submitted a memorandum. The truth will come out," Jaitley added.
"These jets are coming to India... They are required for Indian defence. They will enhance the combat ability of the Indian Air Force (IAF)... This is a clean government to government deal. Modi government is the cleanest government in the history while the UPA government of 2004-14 was the most corrupt government...By allegations, you don't prove anything," the minister said.
Soon after Rahul Gandhi's press conference wherin he made an all-out attack at the PM Modi-led-government, he received flak from all fronts especially from the ruling BJP government who condemned the BJP chief's remarks as 'shameful and irresponsible'.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Congress's attacks betray a sense of desperation that comes from being out of power.
BJP president Amit Shah Saturday took a dig at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, wondering if he has formed a "mahagathbandhan" (grand alliance) with Pakistan as both are saying "Modi hatao" (remove Modi).
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Congress president not to make allegations against the government without any proof.
Both the BJP and the Congress are involved in a bitter war of words over the alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.