Jaipur, Aug 11: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he initiated his party's poll campaign in election-bound Rajasthan.
While addressing a rally in Jaipur, the Gandhi scion continued his tirade on the renewed Rafale deal, calling it "ill-conceived" and intended to benefit a member of the "industrialist lobby" allegedly backing the incumbent ruling regime.
On Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence Ltd being a partner for supplying Offsets of Rafale aircraft, Rahul Gandhi said, "I want to know what qualification he or his newly floated defence company has. Why did the Government of India chose him over the state-owned (HAL) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited?"
"The only qualification which Anil Ambani has is that he is a close friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that the new Rafale deal, which the government inked with French arms manufacturer Dassault Aviation in 2015, after abrogating the UPA-era pact, will cost Rs 1,600 crore per aircraft, as opposed to Rs 540 crore charged under the Congress-era deal.
"UPA government had bought an airplane for Rs 540 crore while PM Modi himself gave Rs 1600 crore to the French company for 1 aircraft," the Congress chief alleged. His accusations came even as the government has so far denied to reveal the cost of the deal citing a secrecy pact with France.
"When I raised the issue of Rafale deal and corruption in Parliament, PM Modi did not spare a minute to answer my questions," Rahul Gandhi further added.
Apart from reiterating his charge on the Rafale pact with Dassault, Gandhi also attempted to corner the government on the issue of jobs and agrarian distress.
"PM Modi had promised 2 crore jobs, Rs 15 lakh in every account and women's safety, but they failed on all fronts. In the last 2 years, Modi Ji's government has waived off loans worth Rs. 2,00,000 Crore of 15 businessmen. I asked for loan waivers for farmers, to which his response was, silence," he told the gathering of party workers and supporters.