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news details
After throwing 24-hour challenge to BJP, Rahul Gandhi to meet Congress core group over Rafale deal
8/30/2018 10:10:09 AM
Agencies
NEW DELHI: Amid an ongoing war of words with BJP over the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will meet the party's core group on Thursday.

During the meeting, the party will reportedly chalk out the strategy to further escalate attack on the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale jet deal, which it calls the ''Great Rafale Robbery.''

The sources close to Congress said that after the meeting gets over, some members of the Core group may join a protest march by the party's youth wing from the AICC headquarters here to the Prime Minister's residence.

The newly-constituted core group committee will meet at Rahul Gandhi's residence to discuss further strategy over the Rafale issue.

This will be the first meeting of the group, which has top Congress leaders as its members.

In the recent times, Rahul Gandhi and his colleagues had launched a frontal attack on the Modi government over the Rafale issue and are demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into it.

Continuing the war of words with the ruling BJP, the Congress on Wednesday alleged that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was trying to cover up a "scandal with scandal" and asked why the government was "scared" for a JPC probe.

Rahul Gandhi attacked PM Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a tweet while Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari posed queries on the deal at the party's regular briefing here.

The Opposition party's attack came hours after Jaitley termed the Congress party's charges on the Rafale deal "complete falsehood'', in a Facebook blog post.

Hitting back, Rahul said that the government should then accept a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe.

"Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation's attention back to the Great Rafale Robbery! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to sort it out?" Problem is, your supreme leader is protecting his friend. So this may be inconvenient. Do check and revert in 24 hours. We're waiting!" Gandhi tweeted. Jaitley too had asked Gandhi and his party to "respond immediately" to the questions raised by him.

Tewari said that a joint statement by India and France completely demolished the "very feeble defence" sought to be put by the Minister.

"In Modi government, collective responsibility is that no Minister has the responsibility of his own Ministry. This is the most peculiar form of government functioning we have seen. The timing of the Finance Minister's defence of Rafale when the RBI is releasing data on demonetisation. It will not be wrong to say that the Minister is trying to cover one scandal with another scandal," Tewari said.

He said the party has been consistently demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal.

"If the government has nothing to hide; if the Finance Minister or the Prime Minister feel that everything is above board, why are they scared of facing a JPC? A JPC should be constituted and all questions which the Finance Minister raised, which primarily were a smokescreen to obfuscate the issue, will be absolutely blown out of water," Tewari said.

The Congress leader also demanded that the government state the final price at which the negotiations on the fighter jet deal with France were left in 2012 under the then UPA dispensation.

"Why is the government - if it has all the facts; if it is transparent - shying away from placing the figures before the country?" he asked.
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