New Delhi, Sept 24: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of being part of an ‘international conspiracy’ against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hinted at‘collusion’ between Rahul and former French President Francois Holland.
Sitharama said that she will go around the country and patiently answer each and every question regarding with the Rafale deal, adding that the government recognise that there is a perception war and will certainly not take all of this false propaganda lying down. Nirmala Sitharaman also said that she would lead a nationwide campaign to "fight the perception battle" with a series of press conferences."We need to fight the perception battle. Many of us will be speaking across the country. Facts have to come out," Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She claimed that Mr.Gandhi’s tweets from August 31 — which said, “..this Rafale aircraft really does fly far and fast! It’s also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks” — hinted at a ‘collusion’ between him and former French President Francois Hollande. “Rahul Gandhi’s tweet and his [Mr. Hollande] comment soon after can’t be a coincidence after all. Now you see, there is an international dimension too,” she added.
Ms. Sitharaman said a JPC probe would only end up in a “slandering-match.” She said all the facts about the deal are already in the public domain.
The Congress had upped the ante against the government after former French president Francois Hollande commented last week to the French media that France had been given no choice about picking Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as Dassault's offset partner in 2016.
Rahul Gandhi has seized Mr Hollande comment to bombard the government with questions and allegations. "An ex-president of France is calling him (the prime minister of India) a thief. It's a question of the dignity of the office of the prime minister," he told reporters. The Congress also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Nirmala Sitharaman for not disclosing the purchase price of the 36 aircraft citing confidentiality.