Nirmala Sitharaman said she regretted that when the PM spoke, the Congress called him a liar
There were heated scenes in the Lok Sabha as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi of insulting her and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Nobody has a right to call me or the prime minister a thief and a liar," said a visibly angry Nirmala Sitharaman, whom speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to calm down.
The defence minister was responding to Rahul Gandhi who said that he wanted to speak as his name was taken by Ms Sitharaman during her reply to a debate on Rafale deal.
Referring to Mr Gandhi's conversation with former French president Franois Hollande, she said the Congress chief had quoted him without any proof.
While clarifying his conversation with Mr Hollande, Mr Gandhi said the former French president had said that the price was not part of the contract and he could say that publicly.
He further claimed Mr Hollande himself had stated that the name of businessman Anil Ambani was given to him by PM Modi and Government of India.
Mr Gandhi wanted to know why Ms Sitharaman did not take the name of Anil Ambani who was chosen as the major offset beneficiary and why the price of aircraft went up to Rs 1,600 crore.
He questioned why the number of aircraft to be purchased was reduced to 36 and why Prime Minister Narendra Modi bypassed the defence establishment to change the deal.
Ms Sitharaman said that the NDA got a better deal then what was being negotiated by the UPA government.
On the offset partners, she said it was not a part of negotiations and the government was not involved in their selection.
The minister said she regretted that when the prime minister spoke, the Congress called him a liar.
"We all come from normal background… I come from a middle class. The prime minister comes from a humble background. The prime minister's name is untarnished, he is not corrupt. I have my honour intact," she said, adding "you cannot insult us the way you want".