Nirmala Sitharaman said it was unfair to say the government misled the country on Rafale deal.
New Delhi: The firestorm over the Rafale fighter jet deal is far from over. In a heated debate in parliament on Friday, punctuated by questions and accusations from the opposition, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave an extensive response that lasted for more than two hours. Attacking the Congress for questioning her and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's integrity, Ms Sitharaman defended the deal for the 36 Rafale fighter planes, signed after the Congress-led contract of 126 jets was scrapped. Here are the top 10 points Nirmala Sitharaman made in the Rafale debate in parliament:
- "Bofors was a scam, Rafale is not. Congress lost an election because of Bofors, Rafale will bring us back. Rafale will bring (Prime Minister) Modi back."
- "I don't have a khandaan (family) to boast of. I come from a middle class family, I come with my honour intact. PM also comes from an economically backward family…and you call him chor?"
- "For every 'AA' there is a 'RV'. And not just a 'RV', a 'Q' also."
- "There is a difference between defence dealing and dealing in defence. We don't do defence dealing – we deal with defence, with national security as a priority."
- "Their base price per aircraft was Rs 737 crore. Ours is Rs 670 crore. That is at least 9 per cent less."
- "I allege, even as I answer their questions, they did not intend to buy the aircraft. National security was not important to them, their treasury was more important."
- "You hug the Prime Minister, and you go wink, is that not insulting the PM?"
- "Congress is shedding crocodile tears for HAL. Congress government gave 53 waivers to HAL… We have given contracts worth Rs 1 lakh crore."
- "Price of a basic aircraft cannot be compared with the price of the battle-ready aircraft with all the weaponry."
- "Defence ministry has run without dalals (middlemen) for five years under Modi-ji."