‘PM faces Open Book exam tomorrow’: Rahul takes Rafale fight to Twitter

The back-and-forth between Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and finance minister Arun Jaitley spilled over to social media after Gandhi followed up his Rafale attacks in Parliament with a media briefing outside on Wednesday evening. Soon after, Jaitley delivered his comeback on Twitter.

“How much does he know? When will he know?” Arun Jaitley tweeted minutes after Rahul Gandhi’s press conference where he had sought to counter the finance minister’s defence delivered in Parliament.

Jaitley reasoned that “there were two different prices” in the offer made to the UPA government.

“One of the flyaway aircraft and the offer of the weaponised aircraft,” he said, insisting that the Congress president was comparing “two unequals and call it a ‘scam’”.

The war of words between the two leaders started in Parliament after Rahul Gandhi targeted the Modi government, questioning the price hike in the Rafale fighter jet deal, claiming it was raised from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,600 crore per aircraft, and alleged corruption in the deal.

Jaitley termed Gandhi’s allegation of price escalation a “kindergarten math”. He said the Congress president “does not have the basic understanding of what a combat aircraft is”.

Soon enough, Rahul Gandhi was back with another barb, this one aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Tomorrow, the PM faces an Open Book #RafaleDeal Exam in Parliament,” Gandhi tweeted, and put out what he called, were “the exam questions in advance”.

“Q1. Why 36 aircraft, instead of the 126 the IAF needed? Q2. Why 1,600 Cr instead of 560 Cr per aircraft. Q4. Why AA instead of HAL? Will he show up? Or send a proxy?” he said.

Someone did point out that he had missed Question No 3. The Congress promptly shot back and said, Question 3 was for the public to decide.

“Send in your questions for NaMo & win a #DaroMat T-shirt. #ModiExam,” the party’s official handle tweeted.

At a press conference earlier, Gandhi had sought 20 minutes with the Prime Minister, who he alleged was hiding from uncomfortable questions that he had posed.

He had also brushed aside strong denials from Panaji and Jaitley about the audio tape that the party has released today, asserting that it was a conversation between Goa minister Vishwajit Rane and another person, in which Rane is heard saying that during a Goa cabinet meeting last week former defence minister Manohar Parrikar stated he had an entire file and all documents relating to the Rafale deal lying in his bedroom.

Rane has denied that he has had this conversation, and along with Parrikar, called the tapes doctored.

First Published: Jan 02, 2019 22:52 IST

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