Demanding the resignation of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday alleged Gandhi "mislead the nation" on the Rafale deal. Gandhi made the issue concerning national security a tool to grind the Narendra Modi government, said the chief minister while addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar.
Rupani was speaking as part of the BJP's move to hold press conferences in 70 cities across the country to attack the opposition party against the backdrop of the Supreme Court's verdict on the Rafale jet deal last week.
Referring to Gandhi’s barb against the prime minister, Rupani said, "Even if all thieves come together and call the chowkidar a thief, the people will not accept it.”
Only “those who are afraid of the 'chowkidar' make repeated noise about thieves. But, the people know the truth,” he said.
"The Supreme Court judgement is a slap on the face of the Congress and those misleading the nation. Now, Gandhi should quit as the president of the Congress for misleading the nation," Rupani said.
The Supreme Court on Friday had dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets.
There was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract, the court had said.
The Congress has repeatedly criticised the deal for the 36 Rafale jets, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government.
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The government has, however, denied any irregularity in the deal.
Rupani also came down heavily on Gandhi for raising questions over the deal even after the apex court held that there were no irregularities in it.
The Gujarat chief minister said there should be no doubt on the decision-making process in the procurement of Rafale jets from France.
"We are ready for a debate on the issue. After the Supreme Court made it clear that there is no irregularity, there should be no question of a probe into the matter," Rupani said.