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Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

A heated debate on the Rafale deal between Congress and BJP took place in the Lok Sabha. Catch Parliament winter session LIVE updates

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

Tearing into the Congress on the issue, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday alleged that the party stalled the deal when it was in power as it "didn't get money" and ignored security.

During her nearly two-hour-long reply to a discussion on the Rafale issue in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman accused the Congress of resorting to falsehood to mislead the country and gave a "point-by-point" rebuttal to the Opposition's allegations, including on the price of the fighter aircraft and HAL not getting the offset contract. 

"Defence ministry has been functioning without dalals (middlemen) during five years of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. Rafale is a decision in interest. I don't want to talk about Bofors because that is a scam and not Rafale. Bofors brought you down. Rafale will bring Modi back to have a new and transforming India and remove corruption which is stinking around the Congress," the minister said.

Countering the Congress' charge, she said that it was the Indian Air Force that suggested that the government buy two squadrons or 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition instead of 18, as was planned to be purchased under the Congress-led UPA government. 

She also accused the Congress of compromising with security in the interest of the party's "treasury" while deciding on buying 126 fighter jets. 

Congress president on Friday said Sitharaman gave a long speech in Parliament but did not answer any of his posers on the and "ran away". Gandhi's assertion came after Sitharaman gave the government's reply on the Rafale fighter jet deal issue in the

"The defence minister did not answer any of the questions I asked on the She did not even take the name of Anil Ambani," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament. Gandhi said he put two questions to the minister towards the end of the debate and asked her to reply in yes or no. "I asked that after a long negotiation process, those people who participated in that negotiations -- Air Force chief, defence minister, secretaries, Air Force officials -- when the prime minister did a 'bypass surgery'... did the Air Force people object, yes or know," Gandhi said. "And you saw that instead of answering this, the defence minister started doing drama that 'I have been insulted, I was called a liar'," he said. 

Here are live updates on the Rafale debate, Cauvery issue, Bill.   

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

"The PM cannot come (to Parliament), and the chief minister of Goa is saying I have a file and I will get back at the PM. She gave a two-and-a-half hour speech and did not answer any questions," Gandhi said.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

It was a straight question and without answering that she "ran away", the Congress chief said.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Addressing the country's youth, Gandhi said the minister was attempting to mislead them.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Gandhi said he put two questions to the minister towards the end of the debate and asked her to reply in yes or no. 

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

"The defence minister did not answer any of the questions I asked on the Rafale deal. She did not even take the name of Anil Ambani," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Defence minister did drama: Rahul Gandhi  "I asked that after a long negotiation process, those people who participated in that negotiations -- Air Force chief, defence minister, secretaries, Air Force officials -- when the prime minister did a 'bypass surgery'... did the Air Force people object, yes or know," Gandhi said. "And you saw that instead of answering this, the defence minister started doing drama that 'I have been insulted, I was called a liar'," he said.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Sitharaman gave a long speech in Parliament but did not answer any of my questions: Rahul Gandhi   Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a long speech in Parliament but did not answer any of his posers on the Rafale deal and "ran away". Gandhi's assertion came after Sitharaman gave the government's reply on the Rafale fighter jet deal issue in the Lok Sabha.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Questioning the seriousness of the Congress in discussing the facts of the Rafale deal, Sitharaman said when Finance Minister and former Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was speaking in the House on Wednesday, the Opposition party members were clicking pictures and throwing paper airplanes. 

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

While countering Congress president Rahul Gandhi's claim that a French leader had told him that there was no secrecy clause in the deal, Sitharaman asked Gandhi to authenticate his claim on the floor of the House.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

Talking about ADAG group, which got the offset contract for the fighter jet deals, Sitharaman said the company obtained 53 waivers and concessions during the Congress-led UPA regime.

Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

"You are misleading the country by saying the NDA government reduced 126 Rafale jets to 36. Congress was supposed to buy 18 in fly-away condition, the NDA raised that to 36," Sitharaman said.

First Published: Fri, January 04 2019. 07:44 IST
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Rafale debate highlights: Sitharaman ran away from my questions, says Rahul

A heated debate on the Rafale deal between Congress and BJP took place in the Lok Sabha. Catch Parliament winter session LIVE updates

Tearing into the Congress on the issue, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday alleged that the party stalled the deal when it was in power as it "didn't get money" and ignored security.

During her nearly two-hour-long reply to a discussion on the Rafale issue in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman accused the Congress of resorting to falsehood to mislead the country and gave a "point-by-point" rebuttal to the Opposition's allegations, including on the price of the fighter aircraft and HAL not getting the offset contract. 

"Defence ministry has been functioning without dalals (middlemen) during five years of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. Rafale is a decision in interest. I don't want to talk about Bofors because that is a scam and not Rafale. Bofors brought you down. Rafale will bring Modi back to have a new and transforming India and remove corruption which is stinking around the Congress," the minister said.

Countering the Congress' charge, she said that it was the Indian Air Force that suggested that the government buy two squadrons or 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition instead of 18, as was planned to be purchased under the Congress-led UPA government. 

She also accused the Congress of compromising with security in the interest of the party's "treasury" while deciding on buying 126 fighter jets. 

Congress president on Friday said Sitharaman gave a long speech in Parliament but did not answer any of his posers on the and "ran away". Gandhi's assertion came after Sitharaman gave the government's reply on the Rafale fighter jet deal issue in the

"The defence minister did not answer any of the questions I asked on the She did not even take the name of Anil Ambani," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament. Gandhi said he put two questions to the minister towards the end of the debate and asked her to reply in yes or no. "I asked that after a long negotiation process, those people who participated in that negotiations -- Air Force chief, defence minister, secretaries, Air Force officials -- when the prime minister did a 'bypass surgery'... did the Air Force people object, yes or know," Gandhi said. "And you saw that instead of answering this, the defence minister started doing drama that 'I have been insulted, I was called a liar'," he said. 

Here are live updates on the Rafale debate, Cauvery issue, Bill.   

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