‘Campaign of falsehood’: Arun Jaitley’s sharp takedown of Rahul Gandhi on Rafale, NPAs

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has upped his attacks on the NDA government on the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Updated: Sep 20, 2018 23:25:25

By HT Correspondent

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s strategy was to concoct a lie and repeat it as many times. (HT Photo)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of misleading the nation on the Rafale deal and the Non Performing Assets issue.

“Public discourse is a serious activity. It is not a laughter challenge. It cannot be reduced to a hug, a wink or repetition of falsehood. The world’s largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a ‘Clown Prince’,” Jaitley wrote in an article shared on social media platforms, referencing Gandhi’s hug of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in parliament during the monsoon session.

“His strategy is simple – concoct a lie and repeat it as many times. This, at least, provides him some concocted material for his statements / speeches for otherwise an issueless Congress,” Jaitley wrote. Jaitley said Gandhi had not responded to any of the questions on the Rafale deal raised by him.

“In mature democracies those who rely on falsehood are considered unfit for public life, he said.


He added that many have been banished from political activity because they were caught lying. “But this rule obviously can’t apply to a dynastic organisation like Congress Party,” he said.

If the “Rafale concoctions” were the first big lie, Jaitley said, the second one which is repeated is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi waived Rs 250,000 crore of debt of 15 industrialists. The finance minister said “not a single rupee” of any debtor has been waived and defaulters are losing their companies and assets under the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC).

The Congress reacted sharply, saying Jaitley was “desperate to stay relevant”. Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the finance minister must answer questions in the “Rafale scam”.

“Arun Jaitley is desperate in his attempt to stay relevant as a ‘Court Jester’ to ‘Modi Sultanate’... Instead of hiding behind the cloak of expletives for the opposition, let the finance minister coherently answer politically relevant issues. Why hide behind abuse when cornered and trapped in the Rafale maze?” he asked.

“Political amnesia and chest thumping cannot obliterate your dismal record of dismantling India’s economic progress or as also the surging NPA’s resulting out of bankruptcy of economic vision of the Modi government,” Surjewala said.

An asset quality review in 2015 by the Reserve Bank of India revealed that NPAs (Non Performing Assets) were actually at Rs 8.96 lakh crore, against UPA leaders’ claim of it being Rs 2.5 lakh crore, and that the real amount was being hidden. No effective steps were taken by the UPA that could result in recovery or reduction of the NPAs, Jaitley said, adding that IBC was the only effective move to have been taken.

He also gave a list of 12 companies and the progress made in their cases under IBC.

“The truth, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, is that your Government allowed the banks to be looted. The loans were inadequately securitised. Your Government was in complicity. The recoveries are being done by the banks only now,” Jaitley said.

Read: HAL could have built Rafale jets in India, says former boss

First Published: Sep 20, 2018 16:18:00


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