Rahul Gandhi had targeted Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day. (File)
A debate in parliament and a press conference later, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi continued the attack on the government over the Rafale deal today on Twitter. Through the day, the Congress chief has repeatedly challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer four questions on the deal that involved the number of aircraft, pricing, claims about defence ministry objections and what the party called patronage.
Mr Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "doesn't have the guts" to respond to the questions and challenged him to a 20-minute one-on-one debate on the Rafale issue.
But in his tweet, something appeared amiss.
Tomorrow, the PM faces an Open Book #RafaleDeal Exam in Parliament.
Here are 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?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 2, 2019
The twitter noticed, and called him out on the anomaly. Among the first to hit out was Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
A student who fails in the classroom boasts and challenges from outside. https://t.co/YOEUIN4JGT
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) January 2, 2019
Congress's Priyanka Chaturvedi responded: "Actually, dear DefMin he challenged you right inside the Lok Sabha today but you didn't have the guts to stand up and accept it. The country saw you hiding behind AIADMK MPs protesting + FinMin's bunch of lies! Tch Tch !"
Mr Gandhi had targeted Ms Sitharaman during the debate in Lok Sabha, accusing her of "hiding" behind the protesting AIADMK members.
It was Union finance minister Arun Jaitley today who responded to Mr Gandhi in parliament today, ripping apart his arguments in a sharp counterattack. Ms SItharaman is expected to reply to the debate tomorrow.
The Congress contends that the government had finalised an overpriced deal to benefit Anil Ambani, whose firm Reliance Defence, despite lacking experience, was recommended as an offset partner for Dassault, the company manufacturing the Rafale aircraft. Both Dassault and the government have denied the Congress allegations.